- Donald M. Fraser
Donald M. Fraser January 1977, Congressional Photo United States House of Representatives In office
Preceded by Walter Judd Succeeded by Martin Olav Sabo Constituency Minnesota's 5th congressional district 44th Mayor of Minneapolis In office
January 1, 1980 – December 31, 1993
Preceded by Albert Hofstede Succeeded by Sharon Sayles Belton Constituency Minneapolis, Minnesota Personal details Born February 20, 1924
Political party Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Spouse(s) Arvonne Skelton Children 6 Residence Minnesota Occupation Attorney
Donald MacKay Fraser (born February 20, 1924) is an American politician from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Donald Fraser played a critical role in making human rights an important part of U.S. policy. Fraser was born on 20 February 1924 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Everett and Lois Fraser. His parents were émigrés from Canada. His father studied law at Harvard, began teaching at George Washington University, and became dean of the University of Minnesota Law School in 1920. Donald Fraser graduated from University High School in 1941 and that year entered the University of Minnesota. During college, he was a member of the varsity swimming team and earned a BA during his naval studies. Having joined the Navy ROTC, he was placed on active duty in July 1942 and continued his naval studies on campus until February 1944 when he was commissioned an officer and sent to the Pacific Theater during World War II and worked as a radar officer into the peacetime that followed, ending in 1946. Following his service, in June 1946 Fraser returned to Minneapolis to study law at the University of Minnesota Law School. Fraser served as a member of the Minnesota Law Review and wrote a law review article on the illegality of racial covenants to land – a position that was supported by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1948. Fraser earned his law degree in 1948 and was admitted to the bar the same year. He joined the politically active firm of Larson, Loevinger, Lindquist, Freeman, and Fraser. Fraser engaged in general law practice and served as municipal attorney for the suburban community of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Fraser married Arvonne Skelton in 1950 and they welcomed the first of their six children the following year.
In 1954, Fraser was elected to the Minnesota Senate and served for eight years ending in 1962 when he was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Minnesota's Fifth District. He served there in the 88th, 89th, 90th, 91st, 92nd, 93rd, 94th, and 95th congresses, from January 3, 1963 until January 3, 1979, after giving up his seat to run for the U.S. Senate. He narrowly lost in the 1978 primary election to Bob Short (who then lost in the general election to David Durenberger).
When President Gerald Ford requested $222 million in foreign aid for Cambodia to combat the Khmer Rouge, during Congressional debate acting Secretary of State Robert Ingersoll asked Fraser if he were "demanding that the Lon Nol government surrender to the Khmer Rouge," and Fraser said: "Yes, under controlled circumstances to minimize the loss of life."
Fraser served as president of Americans for Democratic Action 1974–1976. He was elected mayor of Minneapolis in 1979, taking office on January 1, 1980. His first mayoral term was two years in length, and he was subsequently re-elected to three four-year terms. He was the longest-serving mayor in Minneapolis history. Fraser left office on December 31, 1993, succeeded by the city's first female and first African-American mayor, Sharon Sayles Belton.
Fraser served as a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. He was married in 1950 to the former Arvonne Skelton, a longtime political activist who ran for lieutenant governor of Minnesota in 1986. The Frasers had six children: Thomas, Mary, John, Lois, Anne, and Jean (oldest to youngest).
- Minnesota Legislators Past and Present
- Donald M. Fraser at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
Political offices Preceded by
Mayor of Minneapolis
Sharon Sayles Belton
United States House of Representatives Preceded by
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 5th congressional district
Martin Olav Sabo
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