ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams has entered hospice care following a cancer diagnosis in April 2012.
Grams is in hospice at his home in the east-central Minnesota town of Crown, Kent Kaiser, a longtime GOP activist and spokesman for the Grams family, said Wednesday.
Grams, a Republican and a native of Princeton, Minn., served a single term in the U.S. Senate from 1995 to 2001. He lost his re-election bid to Democrat Mark Dayton, now Minnesota’s governor.
Before entering politics, Grams worked for nearly a decade as lead news anchor for KMSP-TV in the Twin Cities. In 1992, he unseated the incumbent Democratic congressman, Gerry Sikorski, in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District. Grams was elected to the Senate two years later, defeating Democrat Ann Wynia in an open race.
He also owned and ran a construction and residential development business for a time in the 1980s. He and wife Christine Grams own three Little Falls radio stations, on which Grams regularly appeared as a co-host.
Grams attempted a political comeback in 2006, losing a bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. He recently agreed to serve as a co-chairman for the U.S. Senate bid by Republican Mike McFadden, who is seeking to challenge Democratic Sen. Al Franken next year.
Kaiser said Grams is upbeat, can still get around by himself and has been receiving visitors. A volunteer on his 1994 Senate campaign, Kaiser said Grams is the most approachable and down-to-earth politician he’s ever met.
A number of prominent Minnesota Republicans got their start working for Grams, including former state House Speaker Kurt Zellers, who was Grams’ U.S. Senate press secretary.
Kaiser said that Grams was opting not to release further details of his illness, except to say that his cancer had metastasized following the initial April 2012 diagnosis.