Rich was born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota, the second of five children. His grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins live all over southern Minnesota, so as a child, he regularly traveled throughout our district- usually crammed between his four siblings in the back seat of the car, as his dad blasted polka or country music from the driver’s seat. His father worked as an insurance adjuster and his mother as a nurse. Rich learned the importance of respect, education, and helping others at an early age. Rich’s love for southern Minnesota made the decision to raise his children here an easy one. Rich currently lives with his wife, Dr. Lotte Dyrbye, and their three daughters in Rochester Township. This is his home.
Making our community a stronger, better place is important to Rich. Rich has a long track record of public service:
- While Rich was in law school, he received an award for his work to ensure children, seniors, families, and farmers had access to affordable health care. In our community, Rich served on the Hawthorne Health Services Advisory Board in an effort to help provide needed medical services. Rich will continue his work to ensure we all have access to high quality, affordable, comprehensive health care, which is critical to all of us in rural Minnesota.
- Rich served for ten years in the United States Army Reserve as a Judge Advocate General where he helped Commanders and Soldiers with a variety of problems. Rich provided briefings to soldiers and commanders on the law and ethics of inappropriate use of government resources for personal gain. Rich will bring much needed responsibility and ethics to Washington.
- As a former city prosecutor, Rich worked to protect victims and hold people accountable for their crimes. Rich volunteered his time as part of the Intervention Project for Domestic Abuse in an effort to eliminate domestic violence. Throughout his career, Rich continuously stood up for the rights of survivors, by prosecuting hundreds of domestic violence cases.
- Rich understands every aspect of our criminal justice system. He knows that our nation needs criminal justice reform on an institutional level. This is especially critical now, with the opioid and other drug epidemics devastating our communities and overwhelming our courts. We need to reform sentencing and start making societal investments in drug abuse and addiction programs as a way to intervene before the courts are involved. Furthermore, we must dismantle the systems that allow these institutions to disproportionately target communities of color. Rich pledges to work with local and national advocacy groups, judges, law enforcement, and other stakeholders, to make our nation and communities safer for everyone.
Rich is dedicated to service. Rich has spent time serving on:
- Rochester Montessori School Board: Rich understands the value of early childhood education and the benefits of the ability to obtain education and training needed to take advantage of employment opportunities.
- Convention and Visitor Bureau Board: Rich has worked to bring visitors and economic development to drive responsible economic growth to Southern Minnesota
- Olmsted County Planning Advisory Board: Rich worked with community stakeholders, staff, and builders to protect the Decorah Edge which naturally purifies our water. Rich understands the need to balance economic growth with environmental protections in order to preserve our natural resources.
Rich continues to serve our community by working as a volunteer attorney. He has helped families, elders, and children solve complex legal matters who otherwise may not have the resources to receive proper counsel. Rich understands the needs of southern Minnesota and will fight to make our voices heard in Washington.