Harold LeVander

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Harold LeVander
32nd Governor of Minnesota
In office
January 2, 1967 – January 4, 1971
LieutenantJames B. Goetz
Preceded byKarl Rolvaag
Succeeded byWendell Anderson
Personal details
Born(1910-10-10)October 10, 1910
Polk County, Nebraska
DiedMarch 30, 1992(1992-03-30) (aged 81)
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Iantha Powrie
Alma materGustavus Adolphus College
University of Minnesota Law School

Karl Harold Phillip LeVander (October 10, 1910 – March 30, 1992) was an American attorney and politician. He served as the 32nd Governor of Minnesota from January 2, 1967 to January 4, 1971 as a Republican, having defeated incumbent Karl Rolvaag, a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), in the 1966 election.


LeVander was born in Swedehome, Nebraska (near Stromsburg, Polk County) and attended high school in Watertown, Minnesota. His father, Peter Magni LeVander, was a Swedish immigrant and clergyman.[1]

He graduated magna cum laude from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1932, where he served as class president and student council president. He also participated in the Gustavus Adolphus Debate Team, winning the National Peace Oratorical Contest, as well as the football team and track team where he competed in the high hurdles and pole vault.[2] Following graduation from Gustavus, he attended the University of Minnesota Law School. He married Iantha LeVander, the daughter of William Robert and Kathleen (Graham) Powrie, in 1938, and they raised a family of three children: Harold "Hap," Jean, and Diane LeVander.[3][4]


After graduation, he worked as assistant county attorney for Dakota County, from 1935–1939. LeVander also worked for the law firm of Stassen & Ryan, located in South St. Paul, while teaching speech and coaching debate at Macalester College. He was also active in local commerce, acting as President of South Saint Paul's Chamber of Commerce from 1952 to 1954 and as President of the South Saint Paul United Federal Savings and Loan Association from 1953 until 1967. He was politically connected, having worked with future Governor (1939–43) Harold Stassen and future U.S. Representative (1935–41) Elmer Ryan in their law firm. In 1962, he earned the Greater Gustavus Alumni Award for Distinguished Career in Law.[4]

LeVander took the governorship in 1967, and for the first time since 1953, the Republicans held the governorship and both houses of the legislature: the Minnesota State Senate (45–22), and the Minnesota House (93–42). During his term the first Minnesota sales tax was created. He favored "initiative and referendum" and vetoed two bills that did not contain it. He also created the Metropolitan Council, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the inaugural Human Rights Department. During his term, the legislature ratified the Twenty-sixth Amendment, which lowered the minimum voting age nationwide to eighteen.

In a surprise move in 1970, LeVander declined to seek reelection, returning to his law practice and business interests, becoming a director of The St. Paul Companies (1973–1981), the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (1974–1981), and the Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce (1975–1978). In 1992 he died from Parkinson's disease at the age of 81.[1]


  1. ^ a b Knight News Wire. "Ex-Minnesota Gov. LeVander dead at age 82." The Daily Dispatch. Moline, Illinois. April 1, 1992. Print.
  2. ^ LeVander, Harold. "What I Remember Most." Minneapolis Tribune Picture Magazine. Jan. 1, 1967. Print.
  3. ^ Iantha LeVander Papers
  4. ^ a b "Harold LeVander: a strong governor for Minnesota." LeVander for Governor Volunteers. Print.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Karl Rolvaag
32nd Governor of Minnesota
1967 – 1971
Succeeded by
Wendell Anderson