Issue One mourns the passing of former Vice President Walter “Fritz” Mondale and offers our sincerest condolences to his friends and family as we remember and celebrate his life of public service. Vice President Mondale brought extensive political knowledge and valuable government experience to our ReFormers Caucus, a bipartisan coalition of more than 200 former members of Congress, governors, and Cabinet officials advocating for solutions to fix our broken political system.
Mondale was active in Minnesota politics from a young age, earning his political chops during his twenties by working on campaigns for Humbert Humphrey and Orville Freeman. Freeman would later appoint Mondale to serve as Minnesota’s attorney general, and Mondale was elected to a full term as attorney general in 1962. One of Mondale’s most admirable accomplishments during this time was his work with other state attorneys general to support the right of defendants in state courts to have counsel.
Mondale’s reputation as a powerhouse in Minnesota would later lead to an appointment to the U.S. Senate. Once elevated to the national stage, Mondale continued his work as a tireless advocate for consumer protection and civil rights. He was the lead sponsor of the Fair Housing Act, which established the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at HUD. He would later go on to win a successful reelection campaign in 1972 before being tapped by Jimmy Carter to serve as Carter’s running mate in the 1976 presidential election.
After Carter won the presidency, Mondale served as our nation’s 42nd vice president, where he is credited with transforming the role of the position. He was the first vice president to have an office in the West Wing, the first to have Oval Office walk-in privileges, and the first to have weekly meetings with the president. He elevated the role of vice president from public figure to presidential advisor. He was a fierce advocate for the Carter administration’s foreign policy, traveling across the world to represent our country on the global stage. In 1984, Mondale earned his party’s nomination for president of the United States. He made history with his pick for vice president, selecting Geraldine Ferraro, a congresswoman from New York, as his running mate. She was the first woman to earn the nomination for this position from one of the major parties.
After being defeated in the 1984 presidential election by incumbent President Ronald Reagan, Mondale remained active in public service. President Bill Clinton selected Mondale to serve as U.S. ambassador to Japan, and the people of Minnesota would later welcome him back to politics in 2002, when he stepped into a Senate race after the Democratic candidate, Paul Wellstone, tragically died in a plane crash days before the election.
Issue One is grateful for Vice President Mondale’s lifelong dedication to creating a stronger and more equitable democracy. His exceptional service to his country will never be forgotten.