Minnesota representatives honored long-time lawmaker Irv Anderson, observed by his family, as they began Thursday’s session.
"Irv was a fighter, an advocate, a person who had strong believes and values and never wavered from his unique definition of what was right and what was wrong," said his replacement, Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township.
Anderson died last November at age 85. He was House speaker 1993 to 1997, following years as Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party leader in the House. The International Falls politician served his northern Minnesota district in two stints for almost 25 years.
His widow, Phyllis, and two children and other family members were on the House floor to watch a tribute offered by Democrats and Republicans alike.
"He had a big heart," Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, said of the man with a gruff exterior. "He was a pussycat."
Added fellow World War II veteran Rep. Bernie Lieder, DFL-Crookston: "He was a mentor for many of us."
Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, echoed that idea: "He had such an ingrained love for the working men and woman of this state."
"He was always thinking politics and always thinking of our area," Rep. Loren Solberg, DFL-Grand Rapids, said.