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Wright, Sr., Donald Orr "Don"


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Map of Minneapolis
Minneapolis, MN

House 1927-34 (District 30); Senate 1935-54 (District 30); Senate 1955-62 (District 30); Senate 1963-70 (District 38)

Party when first elected:  Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus

Counties Served:  Hennepin

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Date of Birth: 11/18/1892 Date of Death: 7/24/1985
Birth Place: Minneapolis, Minnesota Birth County: Hennepin Birth Country: United States
Other Names: Don
Gender:  Male Religion:  Congregational
City of Residence (when first elected):  Minneapolis

Occupation (when first elected):  Lawyer; Wright and Wright, Attorneys

EDUCATION

University of Minnesota; Attended College;
Northwestern College of Law, Minneapolis; Law Degree;

OTHER GOVERNMENT SERVICE

State Lieutenant GovernorMinnesotaAppointed09/03/1954 to 01/03/1955

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Spouse: Virna A. Wood (she was a Secretary for the Minnesota House of Representatives, she died on June 19, 1986)
Children: Two children: Donald Orr Jr. (preceded his dad in death) and Charles W. (sons)
Family Members Who Have Served in the Minnesota Legislature:
Fred Beriah Wright  - Father

GENERAL NOTES

He is an active Republican and a member of the state party's delegation to the GOP national convention in 1940." (Typewritten Profile, Source Unknown, 1957?)

"Wright, a Minneapolis Conservative..." ("Roy E. Dunn and Donald O. Wright." Star Tribune, July 28, 1985)

"...once describing a governor from his own Republican party as 'wooden-headed'..." ("Donald O. Wright" Star Tribune, July 26, 1985)

He became Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota in late 1954 after Ancher Nelsen resigned to become Administrator of the Rural Electric Administration.

The record for the greatest number of years served overall for the Minnesota Legislature (both House and Senate service) is held by Carl M. Iverson, and Anton J. Rockne at 44 years of service. Donald O. Wright's length of service would be tied with them if his four month service as Lieutenant Governor in late 1954 was counted as legislative service.

The record for number of years served in the Minnesota Senate is held by Anton J. Rockne at 36 years of service. Donald O. Wright's length of Senate service would be tied with him if his four month service as Lieutenant Governor in late 1954 was counted as legislative service.

He was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

He died at the St. Louis Park Plaza Nursing Home in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. His funeral was held at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Religion provided by his obituary.

Legislative Session: 66th (1969-1970) (second half of Senate term)   Session Details
Body: Senate Elected: 11/8/1966 Term of Office: 1/3/1967 to 1/4/1971
District: 38 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: "...once describing a governor from his own Republican party as 'wooden-headed'..." ("Donald O. Wright" Star Tribune, July 26, 1985)
Committees:
Civil Administration and Metropolitan Affairs
Civil Administration and Metropolitan Affairs Subcommittee: Metropolitan Problems Division
Committees
Education
Judiciary
Labor
Public Highways
Rules and Legislative Expense
Taxes and Tax Laws (Chair)

Legislative Session: 65th (1967-1968)   Session Details
Body: Senate Elected: 11/8/1966 Term of Office: 1/3/1967 to 1/4/1971
District: 38 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: "...once describing a governor from his own Republican party as 'wooden-headed'..." ("Donald O. Wright" Star Tribune, July 26, 1985)
Committees:
Civil Administration and Metropolitan Affairs
Civil Administration and Metropolitan Affairs Subcommittee: Metropolitan Problems Division
Committees
Education
Judiciary
Labor
Public Highways
Rules and Legislative Expense
Taxes and Tax Laws (Chair)

Legislative Session: 64th (1965-1966) (second half of Senate term)   Session Details
Body: Senate Elected: 11/6/1962 Term of Office: 1/8/1963 to 1/2/1967
District: 38 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: "...once describing a governor from his own Republican party as 'wooden-headed'..." ("Donald O. Wright" Star Tribune, July 26, 1985)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Civil Administration
Committees
Education
Judiciary
Labor
Public Highways
Public Welfare
Rules and Legislative Expense
Taxes and Tax Laws (Chair)

Legislative Session: 63rd (1963-1964)   Session Details term photo
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Body: Senate Elected: 11/6/1962 Term of Office: 1/8/1963 to 1/2/1967
District: 38 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: "...once describing a governor from his own Republican party as 'wooden-headed'..." ("Donald O. Wright" Star Tribune, July 26, 1985)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Civil Administration
Committees
Education
Judiciary
Labor
Public Highways
Public Welfare
Rules and Legislative Expense
Taxes and Tax Laws (Chair)

Legislative Session: 62nd (1961-1962) (second half of Senate term)   Session Details
Body: Senate Elected: 11/4/1958 Term of Office: 1/6/1959 to 1/7/1963
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: "...once describing a governor from his own Republican party as 'wooden-headed'..." ("Donald O. Wright" Star Tribune, July 26, 1985)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Civil Administration
Committees (Chair)
Education
Judiciary
Labor
Public Highways
Public Welfare
Rules and Legislative Expense
Taxes and Tax Laws (Chair)

Legislative Session: 61st (1959-1960)   Session Details
Body: Senate Elected: 11/4/1958 Term of Office: 1/6/1959 to 1/7/1963
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: "...once describing a governor from his own Republican party as 'wooden-headed'..." ("Donald O. Wright" Star Tribune, July 26, 1985)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Civil Administration
Committees (Chair)
Education
Judiciary
Labor
Public Highways
Public Welfare
Rules and Legislative Expense
Taxes (Chair)

Legislative Session: 60th (1957-1958) (second half of Senate term)   Session Details term photo
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Body: Senate Elected: 11/2/1954 Term of Office: 1/4/1955 to 1/5/1959
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: He is an active Republican and a member of the state party's delegation to the GOP national convention in 1940." (Typewritten Profile, Source Unknown, 1957?)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Civil Administration
Committees (Chair)
Education
Judiciary
Labor
Public Highways
Public Welfare
Taxes and Tax Laws (Chair)

Legislative Session: 59th (1955-1956)   Session Details
Body: Senate Elected: 11/2/1954 Term of Office: 1/4/1955 to 1/5/1959
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: He is an active Republican and a member of the state party's delegation to the GOP national convention in 1940." (Typewritten Profile, Source Unknown, 1957?)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Civil Administration
Committees (Chair)
Education
Judiciary
Labor
Public Highways
Public Welfare
Taxes and Tax Laws (Chair)

Legislative Session: 58th (1953-1954) (second half of Senate term)   Session Details
Body: Senate Elected: 11/7/1950 Term of Office: 1/2/1951 to 9/3/1954 (unfinished term)
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: He is an active Republican and a member of the state party's delegation to the GOP national convention in 1940." (Typewritten Profile, Source Unknown, 1957?)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Civil Administration
Civil Defense
Education
Judiciary
Labor
Motor Vehicles and Motor Tax Laws
Public Highways
Public Welfare
Taxes and Tax Laws (Chair)
Leadership Position: President Pro Tempore
Leadership Notes: He resigned from the Minnesota Legislature on September 3, 1954.
Reason for unfinished term: Appointed to other office
Session Notes: He became Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota after Ancher Nelsen resigned to become Administrator of the Rural Electric Administration.

Legislative Session: 57th (1951-1952)   Session Details
Body: Senate Elected: 11/7/1950 Term of Office: 1/2/1951 to 9/3/1954 (unfinished term)
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: He is an active Republican and a member of the state party's delegation to the GOP national convention in 1940." (Typewritten Profile, Source Unknown, 1957?)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Civil Administration
Education
Judiciary
Labor
Motor Vehicles and Motor Tax Laws
Public Highways
Public Welfare
Taxes and Tax Laws (Chair)
Reason for unfinished term: Appointed to other office
Session Notes: He became Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota after Ancher Nelsen resigned to become Administrator of the Rural Electric Administration.

Legislative Session: 56th (1949-1950) (second half of Senate term)   Session Details term photo
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Body: Senate Elected: 11/5/1946 Term of Office: 1/7/1947 to 1/1/1951
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: He is an active Republican and a member of the state party's delegation to the GOP national convention in 1940." (Typewritten Profile, Source Unknown, 1957?)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Civil Administration
Education
Judiciary
Labor
Motor Vehicles and Motor Tax Laws
Public Highways
Public Welfare (Chair)
Taxes and Tax Laws

Legislative Session: 55th (1947-1948)   Session Details
Body: Senate Elected: 11/5/1946 Term of Office: 1/7/1947 to 1/1/1951
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: He is an active Republican and a member of the state party's delegation to the GOP national convention in 1940." (Typewritten Profile, Source Unknown, 1957?)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Civil Administration
Education
Judiciary
Labor
Motor Vehicles and Motor Tax Laws
Public Highways
Public Welfare (Chair)
Taxes and Tax Laws

Legislative Session: 54th (1945-1946) (second half of Senate term)   Session Details term photo
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Body: Senate Elected: 11/3/1942 Term of Office: 1/5/1943 to 1/6/1947
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: He is an active Republican and a member of the state party's delegation to the GOP national convention in 1940." (Typewritten Profile, Source Unknown, 1957?)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Civil Administration (Chair)
Education
General Legislation
Judiciary
Labor
Motor Vehicle and Motor Tax Laws
Public Highways
Public Welfare
Taxes and Tax Laws

Legislative Session: 53rd (1943-1944)   Session Details term photo
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Body: Senate Elected: 11/3/1942 Term of Office: 1/5/1943 to 1/6/1947
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: He is an active Republican and a member of the state party's delegation to the GOP national convention in 1940." (Typewritten Profile, Source Unknown, 1957?)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Civil Administration (Chair)
Education
General Legislation
Judiciary
Labor
Motor Vehicles and Motor Tax Laws
Public Highways
Public Welfare
Taxes and Tax Laws

Legislative Session: 52nd (1941-1942) (second half of Senate term)   Session Details term photo
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Body: Senate Elected: 11/8/1938 Term of Office: 1/3/1939 to 1/4/1943
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: He is an active Republican and a member of the state party's delegation to the GOP national convention in 1940." (Typewritten Profile, Source Unknown, 1957?)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Civil Administration (Chair)
General Legislation
Judiciary
Labor
Motor Vehicle and Motor Tax Laws
Public Highways
Public Welfare
Taxes and Tax Laws

Legislative Session: 51st (1939-1940)   Session Details
Body: Senate Elected: 11/8/1938 Term of Office: 1/3/1939 to 1/4/1943
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: He is an active Republican and a member of the state party's delegation to the GOP national convention in 1940." (Typewritten Profile, Source Unknown, 1957?)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Civil Administration (Chair)
General Legislation
Judiciary
Labor
Motor Vehicle and Motor Tax Laws
Public Highways
Taxes and Tax Laws
Workmens Compensation

Legislative Session: 50th (1937-1938) (second half of Senate term)   Session Details
Body: Senate Elected: 11/6/1934 Term of Office: 1/8/1935 to 1/2/1939
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: "...once describing a governor from his own Republican party as 'wooden-headed'..." ("Donald O. Wright" Star Tribune, July 26, 1985)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
General Legislation
Judiciary
Labor
Motor Vehicle and Motor Tax Laws
Public Highways (Chair)
Taxes and Tax Laws
Workmens Compensation

Legislative Session: 49th (1935-1936)   Session Details term photo
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Body: Senate Elected: 11/6/1934 Term of Office: 1/8/1935 to 1/2/1939
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer, Donald O. Wright and Alfred W. Bowen Law Firm
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: "...once describing a governor from his own Republican party as 'wooden-headed'..." ("Donald O. Wright" Star Tribune, July 26, 1985)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
General Legislation
Judiciary
Labor
Liquor Control (Chair)
Motor Vehicle and Motor Tax Laws
Taxes and Tax Laws
Workmens Compensation

Legislative Session: 48th (1933-1934)   Session Details
Body: House Elected: 11/8/1932 Term of Office: 1/3/1933 to 1/7/1935
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer, Donald O. Wright and Alfred W. Bowen Law Firm
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: "...once describing a governor from his own Republican party as 'wooden-headed'..." ("Donald O. Wright" Star Tribune, July 26, 1985)
Committees:
Aircraft and Airways
Banks and Banking
Commerce, Manufacture and Retail Trade
Judiciary
Military Affairs
Municipal Affairs
State Prison
Workmens Compensation

Legislative Session: 47th (1931-1932)   Session Details
Body: House Elected: 11/4/1930 Term of Office: 1/6/1931 to 1/2/1933
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer; Wright and Wright, Attorneys
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: "...once describing a governor from his own Republican party as 'wooden-headed'..." ("Donald O. Wright" Star Tribune, July 26, 1985)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Judiciary
Metropolitan Drainage
Public Highways
Railroads and State Motor Transportation
Reapportionment
Workmens Compensation (Chair)

Legislative Session: 46th (1929-1930)   Session Details
Body: House Elected: 11/6/1928 Term of Office: 1/8/1929 to 1/5/1931
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer; Wright and Wright, Attorneys
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: "...once describing a governor from his own Republican party as 'wooden-headed'..." ("Donald O. Wright" Star Tribune, July 26, 1985)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Elections
Judiciary
Metropolitan Drainage
Public Highways
Railroads and State Motor Transportation
Workmens Compensation (Chair)

Legislative Session: 45th (1927-1928)   Session Details
Body: House Elected: 11/2/1926 Term of Office: 1/4/1927 to 1/7/1929
District: 30 Residence: Minneapolis
Counties Represented: Hennepin
Occupation: Lawyer; Wright and Wright, Attorneys
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Conservative Caucus Party Notes: "...once describing a governor from his own Republican party as 'wooden-headed'..." ("Donald O. Wright" Star Tribune, July 26, 1985)
Committees:
Cities of the First Class
Elections
Judiciary
Public Highways
Reapportionment
Workmens Compensation

Articles & Books About
"Virna Wright Dead at 89 (Obituary)." St. Paul Pioneer Press, June 20, 1986.

"Roy E. Dunn and Donald O. Wright (Obituary)." Star Tribune, July 28, 1985.

"Donald O. Wright (Obituary)." Star Tribune, July 26, 1985.

Dawson, Gary. "Legendary Legislator Sen. Don Wright Dies (Obituary)." St. Paul Pioneer Press, July 25, 1985.

Dawson, Gary. "Donald O. Wright, 92, Dies; Was Key Legislator (Obituary)." St. Paul Pioneer Press, July 24, 1985.

O'Keefe, Robert J. "Ex-Tax Chief Wright a Legislative Legend." St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 17, 1982.

"Committee Picketed." Minneapolis Tribune, May 14, 1969.

"Wright's Wrong (Zoo Funding)." Minneapolis Tribune, February 13, 1969.

O'Keefe, Robert J. "Is the 'Fox' Still Legislating?" St. Paul Pioneer Press, January 2, 1969.

"Donald O. Wright." Typewritten Profile, Source Unknown, 1955? and 1957?

Donald O. (Orr) Wright, Sr. Biographical Information from the Minnesota Historical Society's Governors of Minnesota.




Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, 645 State Office Building, Saint Paul, MN  55155