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Former U.S. Rep. Martin Olav Sabo dies

Martin Sabo

Former U.S. Rep. and Speaker of the Minnesota House Martin Sabo has died, according to Mike Erlandson, a former staff member.

Sabo was a titan in Minnesota politics, serving in the Minnesota House from 1961-79 and then 14 terms in the U.S. House representing the 5th Congressional District. He retired in 2007. He was a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor-Party.

Sabo was 78 years old.  Sabo served as Speaker of the Minnesota House from 1973-78.

He was born in North Dakota. He graduated from Augsburg College and in 1960 he was elected to the House at age 22.

U.S. Sen Amy Klobuchar called Sabo a friend and mentor.

"At a time when our politics has become increasingly coarse, Martin knew how to be strong but civil, effective but kind.  In his quiet Scandinavian way, he was a fierce progressive who got things done for his district and our state. And whether it was playing on the congressional softball team or bringing home the funding for a road or a housing project, Martin Sabo truly enjoyed his work.," Klobuchar said in a statement.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman issued a statement about Sabo:

"Congressman Sabo represented the best in Minnesota politics. A man of few words, he led by example. He understood that being a leader, whether Speaker of the Minnesota House or Chair of the U.S. House Budget Committee, meant bringing people together around important work."