Ramsey County History podcast

Following his gubernatorial defeat in 1978, Rudy Perpich (1928-1995) spent a few years in Vienna, Austria, working as a trade representative for Control Data Corporation, but it wasn’t long before he began planning another run for the state’s highest role. Voters remembered him fondly and ushered him back into office in 1982, making him the first (and only) governor of Minnesota to serve noncontinuous terms. Perpich returned to the governor’s seat with a new outlook on bringing economic health to Minnesota, working with and not against big business. No longer the slightly rumpled and lovable character with crazy ideas, he was polished and confident and worked to attract international companies to the state. He was reelected yet again in 1986, making him our longest-serving governor. He might be remembered for the high drama he often brought to the office, which eventually earned him the nickname Governor Goofy, but he was much more than that. His legacy in the advancement of women in law and politics and in education reform lives on today.

Direct download: perpich_2_for_posting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:07am CDT

Growing up in Frogtown

In 1941, young Wendy Ham’s Gumpa Guy Metzger built a dollhouse—a replica of the family home at 435 Charles Avenue in St. Paul. In 2023, Wendy Ham Rossi donated the “two-story,” six-room dollhouse complete with “indoor plumbing” to Ramsey County Historical Society, a gift for which we are grateful. She also penned a companion memoir about growing up on Charles and, later, at 554 Arundel Street surrounded by the love of her grandparents, parents, and little sister, Joyce. And she graciously recorded a reading, which you can hear online. The retired St. Paul public school teacher weaves memories of the dollhouse and her two childhood homes, her love of books—especially Little Women—and her absolute distaste for household chores into a delightful story that will bring smiles to readers’ faces and likely spur memories of your own growing-up adventures from decades’ past.

Direct download: Wendy_Rossi_Final_-_5_16_24_5.58PM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:05pm CDT

Albert H. Quie (1923-2023) left a safe seat in Congress after twenty years to run for governor in 1978. In that, his timing was good. He rode around the “Minnesota Massacre” and into office as the state’s thirty-fifth governor along with fellow Republicans Dave Durenberger and Rudy Boschwitz, who were elected to the US Senate. But in another respect, his timing could not have been worse. A successful first year of tax cuts was followed by an unwelcome recession that slashed state revenues and triggered a three-year budget crisis requiring six special legislative sessions and making most of the governor’s political agenda impossible to achieve. Quie did not seek reelection, moving, instead, into a long career of public service, most notably in prison ministry. 

Direct download: quie_for_posting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:12am CDT

March of the Governors, Governor #34
Rudy Perpich
Series Podcast #37

Rudy Perpich (1928-1995) served as Minnesota's thirty-fourth governor in the years 1977 and 1978. He got there by succession when Wendell Anderson resigned. Perpich then appointed Anderson to the US Senate—the first event leading to the Minnesota Massacre of 1978. Perpich was the first Iron Ranger, the first dentist, and first Roman Catholic to serve as governor and, maybe, the last to have grown up in poverty. His term was marked by the national energy crisis, controversies over electric power lines, and Reserve Mining Corporation, and the death of Hubert Humphrey. It ended with his crushing defeat by Al Quie in 1978. But he would be back

Direct download: 20240312_MOTG_Gov_Perpich_Revised.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:25am CDT

March of the Governors, Governor #33
Wendell Anderson
(Series Podcast #35)

Before an ignominious electoral end, Wendell “Wendy” Anderson was one of Minnesota’s most significant and popular governors. Born and raised on St. Paul’s East Side, he had been an Olympic hockey player and a twelve-year legislative veteran when elected governor in 1970 at the age of thirty-seven. In his first term, Anderson successfully encouraged legislative passage of landmark open government, environmental, labor and other forward-looking laws. Most importantly, he campaigned and got passed a sweeping change in how K-12 education in the state was funded—later termed the “Minnesota Miracle.” For his efforts, Anderson was reelected in 1974 with 63 percent of the vote, carrying every county in the state. However, four years later, as a consequence of his self-appointment to that body, voters chose rival Rudy Boschwitz over him for the US Senate by a 56-40-percent margin, effectively ending his political career. Anderson later practiced law, was a television political commentator and served on the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents. He died in 2016.

Direct download: anderson_W_for_posting2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:57am CDT

March of the Governors, Governor #32
Harold Levander
(Series Podcast #35)

Harold Levander (1910-1982) ran for political office once in his long life, in 1966. He defeated incumbent governor Karl Rolvaag, served four years, and never ran for office again. He had been a star athlete in college, in football and track, and a national champion orator. He practiced law in Harold Stassen's firm, where he represented rural electric power cooperatives and the South St. Paul stockyards. As a Republican governor, he helped enact a remarkably progressive agenda that included creation of the sales tax, the Metropolitan Council, and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

Direct download: levander_for_posting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:22am CDT