HAROLD LEVANDER was born in Swede Home, Nebraska, on October 10, 1910, to parents who had immigrated from Sweden. He graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a bachelor’s degree in 1932, and from the University of Minnesota with a LL.B. in 1935. Public offices include Assistant Attorney, Dakota County, Minnesota. After receiving his law degree, LeVander began to practice law and continued to do so for more than 30 years. He served as an assistant Dakota County attorney for two and a half years before becoming a professor of speech and a coach of oratory and debate at Macalester College. He served in those faculties for seven years. He also served as president of Minnesota Lutheran Brotherhood for four years. He then served as secretary of the National Lutheran Council for two years before presiding as president of the South St. Paul Chamber of Commerce. He also had served as the president of the United Federal Savings and Loan Association of South St. Paul. He was elected Governor of Minnesota on November 8, 1966 and was sworn in on January 2nd, 1967. He truly was a non-politician as he never held an elective office before becoming governor. LeVander was instrumental in bringing regional governance to Minnesota. He created the Metropolitan Council for the Twin Cities area to develop long-range plans for high-density transportation. LeVander also developed regional development commissions for rest of the state. The governor also initiated state aid to local governments — school districts, cities, and county governments. LeVander was successful in creating the Department of Human Rights as well as the Pollution Control Agency. On the education front, LeVander’s support dramatically inflated the state’s budget. It was said that in 1969 education spending equaled the total state budget from four years earlier. LeVander’s approval of attaining clean water and spending increasing money for education was in step with the majority of the public. During his term, LeVander was a member of National Governors’ Conference Executive Committee (1968-69). He was defeated for governor during a reelection bid in 1970.
Governors of the American States, Commonwealths, and Territories, National Governors' Conference