Minnesota state lawmaker dies of COVID-19 complications

Minnesota state lawmaker Jerry Relph (R) died on Friday of complications from the coronavirus, according to family and the state's Senate majority leader.

Relph, who was a first-term state senator, is reportedly the first lawmaker from the state whose death is connected to COVID-19, according to MPR News.

“Jerry dedicated his life to service, and representing Senate District 14 was one of the highest honors he had,” his wife, Pegi Broker-Relph, said in a statement, according to MPR News. “I can’t count the number of times he would come home at night and tell me about helping solve a constituent’s problem, or a story he heard from someone in a parade or at a public event, or even just someone he met during a ‘day on the hill’ event. He loved serving the people of St. Cloud in the Senate, and he cherished every minute of it.”


He was elected in 2016 to the Minnesota Senate, where he filled a vacant seat after the incumbent did not seek reelection. He narrowly defeated Dan Wolgamott, who now serves in the Minnesota House. Relph was 76 years old and a Vietnam War veteran.

The lawmaker went to the emergency room twice in November for coronavirus-related symptoms but was never hospitalized, even after a positive diagnosis. Following that, his family remained private about Relph's condition, the news outlet reported. 

State lawmakers shared their condolences and memories of Relph on social media.


He is survived by his wife, four stepchildren and two adult children, MPR News reported.