By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Don Fraser, longest-serving Minneapolis mayor and former U.S. congressman, has died.

Fraser was 95 when he passed away at his Minneapolis home surrounded by family.

He was a towering figure in the Minnesota DFL party for decades and is remembered for his pioneering work for fair housing and preservation of Minnesota’s boundary waters.

Fraser was a pillar of the Minnesota DFL amongst giants —  in 1962, he shared a podium with then-Senator Hubert Humphrey, Minnesota Attorney General Walter Mondale and President John F Kennedy.

In 1954 he was elected to the Minnesota Senate, in 1962 he was elected to Congress and in 1979 he became the Minneapolis Mayor — serving in that position until 1994.

“He was my mentor in politics,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “He is someone that was a quiet leader, who would listen to people and then make decisions.”

Fraser’s only political loss was in the 1978 primary for U.S Senate when his support for environmental protections for the Boundary Waters was widely seen as costing him outstate votes.

“He felt it was the right thing for our state and he did it,” Klobuchar said.

Fraser will also be remembered for his backing of Minnesota’s Fair Housing Act.

After leaving the Mayor’s office, Fraser and his wife, Arvonne, remained active in Minneapolis and statewide politics.

“Don and Arvonne were a force to be reckoned with, they were constantly involved,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.

Arvonne Fraser passed away last year.

Former Vice-President Walter Mondale says Don Fraser was a brilliant man who should be remembered as a great Congressman, a great Mayor and a great friend.

Esme Murphy

  1. Ed James says:

    “He was my mentor in politics,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “

    It was when he was mayor of Minneapolis that Minneapolis guaranteed police and fire fighters pensions would increase a minimum of 6% per year, regardless of economic conditions. Ryback had to increase city taxes 8% a year for years just to pay for some of the pensions of the police and fire fighters Frazer gave them.