We already miss this great man who demonstrated dignity, wisdom and humor in a time when leaders were respectable and admirable. Our condolences go out to his family and all who had the chance to know him. Thanks, Marty, for all you did for all of us. Minneapolis Committee of Thirteen
Martin Sabo, Minnesota Congressman Known for Compassion in Era of Partisanship, Dies at 78
The Associated Press, March 13, 2016
Martin Olav Sabo announcing his retirement from Congress in 2006.
Craig Lassig, Associated Press
Martin Olav Sabo, a longtime Minnesota congressman whose quiet Scandinavian demeanor conveyed a sense of civility during increasingly partisan times in Washington, died on Sunday in Minneapolis. He was 78.
His daughter Karin Mantor said Mr. Sabo, a longtime smoker, had been hospitalized for a week because he was having trouble breathing.
Mr. Sabo, a Democrat, served 28 years in Congress, easily winning each re-election and eventually becoming chairman of the House Budget Committee. He announced his retirement in 2006 and was succeeded by Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the House.
Minnesota politicians praised Mr. Sabo for his understated manner and ability to deliver millions of dollars to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area for road and housing projects.
Mr. Sabo was born on Feb. 28, 1938, in Crosby, N.D., the son of Norwegian immigrants. He grew up on his family’s wheat farm, and graduated in 1959 from Augsburg College in Minneapolis.
Before his election to Congress in 1978, he served 18 years in the Minnesota Legislature. He was first elected in 1960 at age 22, and he rose to House minority leader, then speaker.
Besides his daughter Karin, he is survived by his wife, Sylvia; another daughter, Julie; and six grandchildren.
In announcing his retirement after a 46-year political career, Mr. Sabo called putting together the 1993 federal budget and deficit reduction package as the House Budget Committee chairman one of his proudest accomplishments. The measures resulted in a budget surplus in 1998, the first in almost 30 years.
Mr. Sabo also took pride in never publicly disparaging another politician. He said Congress had become more polarized during his time there.
“I’ve always believed the fundamental problem with politics today are people who over-promise and overstate. I’ve tried to do the opposite,” Mr. Sabo said. “I’ve also tried to treat my colleagues with respect. I don’t recall ever making a public statement critical of my colleague, whether it’s Democrat or Republican.”