DENVER (AP) – Colorado Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp, who led his party through congressional redistricting and a tough budget, is resigning from the Legislature to focus more attention on his four children.

The Republican state senator from Littleton announced his resignation Tuesday. It is effective Oct 21.

Kopp’s wife, Kimberly, died in July after battling cancer.

“It is with a deep sense of loss and a heavy heart that I resign my senate seat. The last five years have been among the most fulfilling for me. I have truly enjoyed serving the people of Senate District 22 and all of Colorado. However, I must now dedicate my service to my four beautiful children,” Kopp said in a statement.

Kopp, a moderate Republican, said he wanted to give his successor time to prepare for the upcoming session. The governor is scheduled to submit his first budget on Nov. 1, and lawmakers will take up the state budget for the remainder of the year.

Senate President Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, said the Senate is losing a gifted and dedicated senator.

House Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, said Kopp served his country with honor and courage as a U.S. Army Ranger and has served the state with distinction as a member of the state Senate.

Kopp was elected to the state Senate in 2006 and was elected Senate minority leader in May 2010.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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