Former Forest Lake state Sen. Ray Vandeveer dies at 70

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Former state Sen. Ray Vandeveer, a Minnesota lawmaker from Forest Lake who served nearly 15 years in the state Legislature, has died at 70.

Vandeveer, a Republican who represented a northeast metro district that included Washington and parts of Anoka counties and cities including Forest Lake and Stillwater, served in the House and Senate from 1998 to 2012. He died on May 11 surrounded by family, according to an obituary posted online.

State Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, in his Senate photo for his second term, which started in Jan. 2011. (Courtesy of the Minnesota Senate Photographer’s Office)

“Ray’s legacy of public service and community involvement will be fondly remembered,” the obituary said.

Outside the Legislature, Vandeveer had a real estate appraisal business for more than 30 years. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2000, according to an Associated Press report, and decided not to run for reelection in 2012 due to health concerns.

In his final year in office, Vandeveer said he was proud of his efforts with fellow Republicans to cut state spending. His party took the majority in the Senate in 2011 and reduced a $5 billion deficit.

“I worked very hard to protect our personal freedoms and slow down the expansion of government,” he told the Pioneer Press at the time.

When Vandeveer announced his plan to leave the Legislature, now-Sen. Karin Housley filed to run for his seat, one she has served in ever since.

Vandeveer was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in a 1998 special election. He served in that chamber for nearly nine years, eventually becoming the chairman of the Subcommittee on Property and Local Tax Division.

He was elected to the Senate in 2006, and served as chairman of the Local Government and Elections Committee when Republicans took the majority in 2011.

Besides serving as a legislator, Vandeveer was on the Forest Lake Planning Commission, the Mounds View Charter Commission, and as a volunteer probation officer for Anoka County, according to the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.

Vandeveer is survived by his wife, Camille, four children, a grandchild and four siblings.

A memorial event is scheduled for Sunday, June 23.

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