On July 16th, former Minnesota State Representative Mary Ellen Otremba of Long Prairie passed away at the early age of 63. Mary Ellen was a warrior when it came to protecting the weak, the vulnerable, the elderly and the unborn. She was a staunch Democrat and just as dedicated a pro-lifer. She was a dear friend of the pro-life movement and an unwavering ally of MCCL.
After the passing of her husband, Rep. Ken Otremba, in the fall of 1997, Mary Ellen ran for and won the same House seat that he had held. And, just as Rep. Ken Otremba fought for life in the Legislature, so did Rep. Mary Ellen Otremba. In her very first legislative session, it was Rep. Otremba who offered the amendment that became our 1998 abortion reporting law that now gives us our annual abortion report to the Legislature each July. Nearly all legislative initiatives that dealt with life issues were touched in one way or another by Rep. Otremba in the course of her time in the Legislature.
During her 14 years in the House, Rep. Otremba cast nearly 140 votes on life issues, and each time, pro-life! She drew the ire of her fellow Democrats when they were electing a Speaker because she would not vote for a Speaker—even within her own party—who was not pro-life.
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) Executive Director Scott Fischbach praised Rep. Otremba: "Mary Ellen was a dear friend, a real fighter for all vulnerable people. She had such a passion for the unborn and their mothers rooted in her deep love and compassion for people. She once said that she tried to make all decisions through the eyes of the poorest person she knew. Her willingness to stand up for life in the face of enormous pressure against her is inspiring to all of us."