Winner:Allan Spear

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Senator Allan Spear was the first openly gay member of the Minnesota Legislature and the longest serving openly gay state legislator in the nation when he retired in 2000. Senator Spear was the second elected official in the nation to publicly acknowledge being gay, and he is widely known as the founder of a movement to encourage openly gay citizens to run for office and to help other gay elected officials come out to the public.

Senator Spear moved to Minneapolis in 1964 to join the faculty of the History Department at the University of Minnesota after receiving his Ph. D. in history from Yale University. Admired by students and colleagues alike for his intelligence and talent as a teacher and a scholar, he was also a long-time Democrat who quickly became active in state politics.

He was first elected to the Minnesota State Senate in 1972. He was elected president of the Minnesota State Senate 1993 and later that year succeeded in guiding the passage of Minnesota's GBLT civil rights law. Today, Senator Spear is still broadly praised as one of the Senate's most skilled and impartial presidents.
~Scott Dibble, St. Paul, MN

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