April 6, 2024

DFL Party Announces 2023 Humphrey Mondale Award Winners

Today, the Minnesota DFL Party is announcing the five award winners that will be honored during the party’s 11th Annual Humphrey Mondale Dinner for their significant contributions to the DFL Party and Minnesota. The five awards, Mondale, Humphrey, Wellstone, Freeman & Growe, are named after historic DFL leaders whose legacies inspire our movement to build a better Minnesota for all.

“The Minnesota DFL Party’s recent success at the ballot box and in the Capitol would have never happened without the hard work, leadership, and dedication displayed by this year’s award-winners,” said DFL Chairman Ken Martin. “While these leaders have served our state in different ways, from getting key legislation signed into law to building public support for progressive policies, they share one common goal: to leave Minnesota better than they found it.

“The goal of building a better future for Minnesota stands in the finest tradition of our party and our movement, and I know the namesake of each award would be proud of the accomplishments of this year’s award-winners,” added Martin. “Every one of them has poured so much of their hearts and souls into serving the people of Minnesota, and sacrificed so much time and energy for the betterment of our state. I am thrilled to honor this year’s award winners for their tremendous contributions to our party, to the movement we are building, and to the state we are so proud to call home.”

The Hubert H. Humphrey Award for Dedication and Leadership to the Minnesota DFL: 

Ron Harris

Ron Harris has been a fantastic voice for Minnesota’s in the Democratic National Committee. Serving as Chairman of the Midwestern Caucus within the DNC, he has fought hard for our region’s priorities and values on the national stage. Under his leadership, Democrats are now stronger than ever in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and, of course, Minnesota. Additionally, Ron was instrumental in raising the minimum wage and providing paid sick and safe time to everyone in Minneapolis. Those who know Ron are quick to praise his dedication to ensuring everyone can live their best lives. Ron Harris’ work ethic, civic engagement, and commitment to improving people’s lives serves as an inspiration to so many people. Ron Harris represents the best of us DFLers, and he deserves the recognition for it.

The Joan and Walter Mondale Award for Public Service: 

Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman

Speaker of the Minnesota House Melissa Hortman was first elected to the state legislature in 2004 and has been integral to Minnesota’s success ever since. As a freshman in the legislature, she fought hard for education funding, clean energy, and the rights of everyday Minnesotans. In 2017, Hortman was elected the House Minority Leader by her colleagues, eventually becoming Speaker of the House after she helped flip the chamber in 2018. Under her watch, the Minnesota House has been more active than ever before. In 2023 alone, Hortman guided the Protect Reproductive Options Act, voting rights legislation, free school meals for all our students, and much more through the legislature. Speaker Melissa Hortman is exactly the leader Minnesotans need to put the power of law behind our values, ideas, and beliefs. 

The Paul D. Wellstone Award for Lifetime Commitment to Organized Labor: 

Paul Slattery

Minnesota has a long tradition of standing up for workers’ rights; Paul Slattery has been instrumental in preserving and expanding that legacy. Slattery is the Political Director for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, America’s largest and most diverse union. Additionally, Paul runs Local 120’s DRIVE organization, which educates the public on labor issues and holds anti-labor politicians accountable. At a time when conservative legislators are threatening workers’ rights across the country, Paul has stood up for his colleagues, his neighbors, and people he has never met. A skilled negotiator and organizer, Paul is instrumental in every contract campaign he’s tasked with. He has won campaigns for employees in major industries like trucking, warehouse work, and vehicle service. His contributions to our state and the labor movement are cherished. The DFL will always stand proudly with organized labor, and we are excited to give Paul the recognition he has earned.

The Orville L. Freeman Award for Distinguished Service to Greater Minnesota and Agricultural Issues: 

Former Representative Mary Murphy

Initially a history and social studies teacher for Duluth Central High School, Mary Murphy began her career in public service in the Minnesota House in 1976 and was reelected every two years through 2020. As a state representative, Mary Murphy fought hard for her Northern Minnesota community. She was vital in advancing legislation strengthening worker’s rights, women’s issues, consumer protection, and of course, education. During her tenure, Murphy worked to establish funding for Head Start and Early Childhood Family Education which continue to help Minnesota’s working families to this day. Serving in the Minnesota House for nearly fifty years, it’s safe to say Mary Murphy has given more time than most to making Minnesota a better, safer, and happier place to live. We can only hope that our party lives up to her standard of dedication.  

The Joan Growe Award for Distinguished Commitment to Expanding Access to Democracy and Justice in Minnesota: 

Senate President Bobby Joe Champion

First elected to the legislature in 2008, Senate President Bobby Champion has been fighting for racial justice, economic opportunity, and criminal justice reform for his tenure. As President of the Senate, Champion has the unenviable position of keeping senate discussions peaceful. However, with his even temperament and commitment to civility, Senator Champion makes it look easy. This year, Senator Champion authored and eventually passed the bill that restored voting rights to 55,000 Minnesotans who had left prison behind. Because of his work, Minnesota will continue its legacy as one of the most politically engaged states in the union. Our democracy only functions because we have people like Senator Champion to care for it. We are tremendously grateful to have him representing our values in St. Paul. 

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