See more of the story

Laura Lee, one of the first Hmong-American anchors in the country, is leaving the Rochester market. But she's not leaving the state.

Lee, who has been at KAAL-TV for 13 years, will become the main anchor at KBJR-TV, the NBC affiliate in Duluth in June.

Lee, whose last day at the ABC affiliate in southeast Minnesota is April 28, said that she has been touched by the reaction of viewers since the news broke.

"I've cried a lot," said in a phone interview Tuesday. "I never realized how many people are watching. You talk into a camera every night, but you never imagine how you are part of people's lives until now."

She said being a role model for Hmong-Americans has been an important part of her journey.

"It's been a huge, huge honor," said Lee. "I grew up in the Twin Cities and always admired the anchors there. I dreamed of being one of them. I love what I'm doing and if I can be an inspiration to Hmong girls along the way, that's a win."

Lee, 38, was raised in Minneapolis and attended the University of St. Thomas. She is the single mother of four kids. KBJR is delaying her start at the station so she can focus on her oldest daughter's high school graduation.