Donald M. Fraser

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Donald M. Fraser
1977 Congressional Pictorial Donald Fraser.jpg
January 1977, Congressional Photo
44th Mayor of Minneapolis
In office
January 1, 1980 – December 31, 1993
Preceded by Albert Hofstede
Succeeded by Sharon Sayles Belton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1963 – January 3, 1979
Preceded by Walter Judd
Succeeded by Martin Olav Sabo
Member of the Minnesota State Senate
In office
Personal details
Born Donald MacKay Fraser
(1924-02-20) February 20, 1924 (age 92)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Political party Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Spouse(s) Arvonne Fraser née Skelton (m. 1950)
Children 6
Residence Minnesota
Occupation Attorney

Donald MacKay Fraser (born February 20, 1924) is an American politician from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Early life[edit]

Fraser was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Everett and Lois Fraser, immigrants 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. Fraser graduated from University High School in 1941 and that year, he entered the University of Minnesota. During college, he was a member of the varsity swimming team.

Having joined the US 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. Fraser worked as a radar officer into the peacetime that followed, ending in 1946. 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 for land, a position supported by the US Supreme Court in 1948. Fraser earned his law degree 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. He married Arvonne Skelton in 1950 and the following year, they welcomed the first of their six children: Thomas, Mary, John, Lois, Anne, and Jean (born in that order).

Political career[edit]

1973, Congressional Pictorial Directory

In 1954, Fraser was elected to the Minnesota Senate and served for eight years. In 1962, he was elected to the 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. He gave up his seat to run for the US Senate. He narrowly lost the 1978 Senate primary election to Bob Short, who then lost in the general election to David Durenberger.

Fraser served as president of Americans for Democratic Action from 1974 to 1976. He was elected mayor of Minneapolis in 1979, taking office on January 1, 1980. His first mayoral term was two years, and he was subsequently reelected 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.

He served as a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. Arvonne Fraser ran for lieutenant governor in 1986.


His papers are available for research use. The collection is particularly strong in its documentation of international relations, Democratic Party policy and reform, human rights issues, environmental conservation, and women’s issues, in the 1960s and 1970s.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Donald M. Fraser Papers

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Albert Hofstede
Mayor of Minneapolis
Succeeded by
Sharon Sayles Belton
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Walter Judd
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Martin Olav Sabo