Walter “Fritz” Mondale, who, in his 1984 run for the presidency (against President Ronald Reagan), only won his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia, has passed away. He was 93. The Associated Press reported that his family confirmed his death in a statement Monday, but no cause of death was provided.
The former Senator was foremost known as President Jimmy Carter’s vice president from 1977 to 1981.
Mondale started his political career as an activist in Minnesota’s Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, and worked on the 1948 Senate campaign of Hubert Humphrey. In 1956, Mondale graduated from the University of Minnesota law school, then served as Minnesota’s state attorney general from 1960 until his appointment to the Senate in 1964. Mondale was to finish Hubert Humphrey’s term after Humphrey became Lyndon B. Johnson’s vice president.
After completing the term, Mondale, was elected to the Senate in 1966, and re-elected in 1972, when Carter tapped him for his vice president.
Mondale was at the center of a number of reforms in his, by today’s terms, short Senate career. These reforms reshaped how Congress voted, allocated the national budget and sought to protect lower-income and minority Americans. Mondale was the driving force behind the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which outlawed discrimination in housing, and he helped to pass the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, which created the Congressional Budget Office. Mondale helped lead the effort to amend the cloture process to make it easier to end filibusters, and that 60-vote rule is still in effect today.
After losing his 1984 bid for the White House, Monday served President Bill Clinton as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 1993 to 1996.
In addition to his political career, Mondale also was an advocate for raising awareness about brain health. Both his wife Joan, and his daughter Eleanor, succumbed to brain diseases. In 2015, he was awarded the Public Leadership in Neurology Award from the American Academy of Neurology.
Former President Jimmy Carter eulogized him:
“Today I mourn the passing of my dear friend Walter Mondale, who I consider the best vice president in our country’s history,” former President Jimmy Carter said in a statement Monday night.
Mondale was credited with making the office more relevant. He served as Carter’s vice president from 1977 to 1981. He also served as a U.S. senator from Minnesota.
“During our administration, Fritz used his political skill and personal integrity to transform the vice presidency into a dynamic, policy-driving force that had never been seen before and still exists today,” said Carter, who called him an “invaluable partner.”