St. Paul— Today is the 80th birthday of Wendell R. Anderson, Governor of the State of Minnesota from 1971 to 1976. Governor Anderson served his state and nation with distinction in civic, community, and political office for over 50 years, including service as a United States Army Infantry Officer from 1956 to 1957. Anderson grew up in Saint Paul, and graduated from Johnson High School, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Minnesota Law School. Anderson demonstrated his athletic skill as a member of the 1956 United States Silver Medal Olympic Hockey Team.
Wendell Anderson was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1958 and 1960, and the Minnesota Senate in 1962 and 1966; and the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University selected him as one of two outstanding Minnesota Legislators in 1967. Anderson won endorsement for Governor at the 1970 Democratic-Farmer Labor (DFL) convention in Duluth, and waged a spirited and energetic, statewide campaign, pledging equalized school financing and property tax reform, and winning the Governorship decisively on November 3, 1970.
Upon taking office as Governor, Anderson proposed tax increases of $762 million as part of the state's $3 billion budget in order to increase state school aid operating costs from forty-three to seventy percent, and substantially reform local property taxes. Governor Anderson also proposed significant, new programs in areas of environment, energy, health, and housing.
Wendell Anderson's leadership as Governor won Minnesota national recognition as having a “government that works,” and his tax and education successes were labeled “The Minnesota Miracle." Governor Anderson campaigned for the DFL's legislative candidates in 1972 and in that election, the DFL won majorities in both Houses of the Legislature for the first time in state history.
Anderson overwhelmingly won reelection in 1974, winning all eighty-seven counties and the confidence of nearly sixty-three percent of the electorate; and, after serving as Governor, represented Minnesota for two years as United States Senator and was a member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents from 1985 to 1997.
Today, we celebrate Wendell R. Anderson's 80th birthday and thank him for his friendship and his service to the people and State of Minnesota.