MINNEAPOLIS -- Former Vice President Walter F. Mondale was remembered Monday, April 19, as a towering figure in Minnesota's public life and a leading influence on Democratic politics in the final decades of the last century.
Mondale "led an extraordinary life of service — in uniform during the Korean War, as a Senator, and as Vice President," Vice President Kamala Harris posted on Twitter. She said she spoke to him a few days ago and thanked him for his service.
Tributes poured in on social media and in press releases from politicians of both parties in the hours following the announcement from Mondale's family that he had died at age 93.
"Walter Mondale believed in the power of government to make a positive difference in people's lives, and proved it at every stage of his remarkable career — with deep policy knowledge, a tireless work ethic, and uncommon decency," former President Bill Clinton posted on Twitter. "Hillary and I loved him and will miss him very much."
Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who interned in the Office of the Vice President under Mondale, said that he "taught me that leadership isn't all about giving soaring speeches and punchy sound bites — but actually getting things done for people," she said.
"I loved Walter Mondale and I'm not the only one," said U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, who also had close personal ties. The Democrat said Mondale "provided his strong, compassionate, clear, and fearless voice to the world for over six decades, and he never stopped."
U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, a Republican, also praised him. "Walter Mondale was a fixture in Minnesota politics — but more importantly, he was a kind and decent man," Emmer tweeted. GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa wrote on Twitter that "Mondale spoke the values of Minnesota and loved his state like I do Iowa."
A son of southwestern Minnesota, Mondale rose to the forefront of U.S. political power serving alongside former President Jimmy Carter. In 1984, he was the Democratic candidate for president, but lost to President Ronald Reagan.
"Walter Mondale believed in and worked to create a nation with a heart, a soul, and a conscience," Gov. Tim Walz said. "He believed that the greatness of America is found in the everyday men and women who build our nation, do its work, and defend its freedoms."
As Ken Martin, chairman of Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, pointed out, Mondale also left a huge mark on policy in a dozen years in the U.S. Senate.
"In our nation's 245 year struggle to build a more perfect union, few have contributed as much to that cause as Walter Mondale," Martin said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar said that Mondale remained an inspiration and guide for generations of progressives long past his time in public office.
"Even in his twilight years, he remained a vocal advocate for progressive values and a voice of moral clarity," Omar said. She went on to note that his passing came as Minneapolis waits for a verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd.
"I am reminded of Vice President Mondale's words last summer: 'The battle for civil rights is a journey, not an end point,' " Omar said.
In her statement, Klobuchar highlighted insightful words from her "friend and mentor."
"On the wall in the Carter Museum are Mondale's powerful words: 'We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace.' Those words summarize his life — he had a strong moral core that defined his every action, from how he treated people to his willingness to fight hard for policy that would improve the lives of Americans," Klobuchar said. "That is the standard that we must hold ourselves to every day."
(c)2021 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.