Senate 1963-66 (District 45); Senate 1967-72 (District 46); Senate 1973-80 (District 65)
Party when first elected: Nonpartisan Election-Liberal Caucus
Cretin High School; Secondary; GraduateCollege of St. Thomas; B.A.; Political ScienceUniversity of Minnesota; Attended Graduate School;
Bridget Rosemarie Finnegan (married in 1949,
divorced in the mid-1970s, she died on March 9, 2010); Deborah "Debbie" C. Howell (married in June 1975; she had various editor positions with the Minneapolis and St. Paul newspapers, she died in January 2010)
Seven children: Nicholas "Nick" J.(columnist with the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Minneapolis Star Tribune), Patrick "Pat", Brendan, Christopher "Chris" (St. Paul Mayor, elected 2005), and Emmett (sons); Maureen (died at 2), and Meghan (daughters).
Family Members Who Have Served in the Minnesota Legislature:
Special Legislative Concerns: taxes, welfare, labor, environment, gun control, education.He was of Irish ancestry.He was a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.According to the Minnesota Legislative Manual, 1977-78, in 1973 he became the first Democratic Senate Majority Leader in 114 years (since 1858).He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsement for Minnesota Governor in 1970.He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsement for the United States Senate in 1978.He died from leukemia. His body was lain in state in the Minnesota State Capitol.
The photos in this collection were scanned from the files of the Minnesota Senate Photographer
with the generous help of the Minnesota
Digital Library, and are included in the Minnesota Reflections
Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, 645 State Office Building, Saint Paul, MN 55155