He was elected Governor of Minnesota at age 31 - the youngest to serve in U.S. history.
He served as a Commander and Captain in World War II and served under Admiral Halsey.
He was chosen by F.D. Roosevelt to be U.S. representative in the creation of the United Nations charter.
He was a contender to represent the Republican Party as a presidential candidate in 1948.
Despite the ridicule he received as a prennial office seeker in his later years of life, he left a legacy of national significance and is one of the most distinguished Minnesotans in the last 150 years.
~Brian Pease, St. Paul, MN
Arguably, one of the most significent Minnesotans in the 20th century. Not only was he an intellectual politican and far- thinking, he transformed Minnesota politics - serving as the youngest Governor in U.S. history, served in WWII under Admiral Halsey - in command of rescue operations to free U.S. POWS in Japan, the last surviving signer of the UN Charter,and a presidential contender. I have a hard time seeing those Minnesota political leaders already on the list having as much impact as this native son of the state of Minnesota. Besides, it might balance your exhibit ticket politically to include at least one prominent Minnesota Republican politican.
Harold Stassen did many things for our state and our country, not the least of them being his efforts to establish the United Nations. Although some ridiculed him as a perennial non-winning candidate for president, he sacrificed his own power at times for things such as service to his country in the Navy during WWII and marching to Washington DC alongside Martin Luther King during the Civil Rights Era. He was the youngest man ever voted governor of Minnesota and he was married to his wife for 70 years! He always strove to reach his potential, whatever that might be, and never gave up. I think that we can be proud of him on several counts, but most especially for the hand he had in establishing the United Nations and for the example he set as a man who lived his values and didn't just mouth them.
~Elizabeth Fisher, Brooklyn Park, MN
Reform governor of the 1930s. Tank Commander World War Two. Signer of the United Nations Charter. Perennial candidate for President.
~Joseph M. Kustritz, Saint Cloud, MN
In many ways, Harold Stassen introduced the political world to Minnesota by being elected the youngest person ever to serve as governor, by positioning himself for worldwide media coverage on the national scene during his WWII escapades and his renowed work at the United Nations Charter meetings as he headed into the 1948 Republican Convention. Generations of brash, young attorney types followed in his footsteps on both sides of the political aisle for generations. I still find activists who talk about him and his solid foundation in the old moderate Republican party that always made Minnesota a great place to enjoy politics. Of course, his contributions to the United Nations, to the Eisenhower presidency and to the University of Pennsylvania are part of his legacy as well. Stassen, Anderson, Humphrey, Mondale, Wellstone - they were all part of Minnesota's political legacy that has shaped our reputation to the rest of the country.
~Lois Glewwe, South St Paul, MN