Steve Sviggum, Walter Mondale, Roger Moe and Tim Penny

Walter Mondale (center) worked in a bipartisan manner to get things done, including after retirement. In a joint press conference in March 11, former Minnesota House Speaker Sviggum, R-Kenyon; Mondale, former Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe, D, and former U.S. Rep. Tim Penny, D, spoke in support of ending gerrymandering in Minnesota. Namely, take post-census redistricting duties out of the Legislature's hands. File photo

Iconic Minnesota politician Walter Mondale died Monday, April 19, and people on both sides of the aisle mourned.

The nation knew Walter Mondale as President Jimmy Carter’s vice president 1976-80 and the Democratic challenger to Ronald Reagan in 1984. Japan knew Mondale as U.S. ambassador in 1993. Minnesota history books list him as attorney general 1960-64 and U.S. senator 1964-76. 

Here is how some people, including those who hold a few of those offices now, expressed their sorrow at Mondale’s death of natural causes at 93.

Amy Klobuchar, U.S. senator

“A minister’s child and son of Ceylon, Minnesota, Vice President Mondale was a true public servant in every sense of the word. He was someone who always treated people with dignity and respect, and I was privileged to call him my friend and mentor. Interning in his office as a college student was a life-changing experience – I left that job thinking that someday I myself could run for office. 

“Walter Mondale taught me that leadership isn’t all about giving soaring speeches and punchy sound bites – but actually getting things done for people.”


Keith Ellison, Minnesota attorney general

“Walter Mondale was a giant: he was a towering figure in American civil rights, a transformative vice president and an iconic Minnesotan. As Minnesota attorney general, he fought for civil rights and against corruption and was a role model for anyone who cares about using the law for justice. He was the original ‘people’s lawyer’: he once told me that of all the amazing jobs he’d had, being attorney general was his favorite.” 


Ken Martin, DLF Party chairman

“What truly defines Walter Mondale’s life of public service is a relentless focus on standing up for what’s right and helping people in need. In the Senate, he engaged tirelessly in the long, difficult, and painstaking work of building meaningful and durable political change. A passionate civil rights advocate, Mondale was instrumental in negotiating and helping to pass the Fair Housing Act, Voting Rights Act, and key provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. In our nation’s 245 year struggle to build a more perfect union, few have contributed as much to that cause as Walter Mondale. 

“More than anyone else, Mondale was responsible for defining the modern vice presidency by crafting a much larger role for the office than ever before, which he subsequently used to further the causes of peace and civil rights across the globe. It was Mondale’s hard work that opened the negotiations which ultimately led to the Camp David Accords and the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, a peace treaty that endures to this day.”

Jennifer Carnahan, Republican Party of Minnesota chairwoman

"While the country may remember Mondale as a longtime senator from our state or President Jimmy Carter’s vice president, Minnesotans also know him as a kind and selfless family man as well as champion of higher education and the arts here in Minnesota along with his wife, Joan.

"In spite of our obvious political differences, there is no denying that Mondale always had the best interests of his fellow Minnesotans at the forefront of his mind when governing and leading.”

Tina Smith, U.S. senator

“I loved Walter Mondale and I’m not the only one. Mondale was a giant not only because of the positions he held — Minnesota attorney general, U.S.. senator, vice president, democratic presidential candidate and ambassador — but because of the work that he did. He provided his strong, compassionate, clear, and fearless voice to the world for over six decades, and he never stopped.”

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