Sunday, July 09, 2006

Frank Zeidler 1912-2006


Frank was the last Socialist Mayor of Milwaukee and served from 1948 until 1960. Proud to say I knew him in the 1970s and invited him to speak at Grinnell College in 1975. His wife drove him out to Iowa since he didn't drive. He always took the bus while Mayor and told me it was one way he stayed in touch with voters. He was also a devout Lutheran and taught Sunday School.

Milwaukee Journal has a nice slide show on him.
Zeidler later ran unsuccessfully as a Socialist candidate for governor and the House of Representatives. In 1976, he was the presidential candidate of the Socialist Party USA.

Jimmy Carter won the presidential election that year with nearly 41 million votes. Zeidler, on the ballot in six states, received 5,427 votes, of which 4,258 were from Wisconsin.
Mine was one of those votes from outside Wisconsin. It was the only time I broke from voting for a Democrat until 2004. More from the MSJ,
Milwaukee has had non-partisan elections since 1912, but Socialism had developed a strong foothold in the largely German and working-class Milwaukee of the turn of the century, said Milwaukee historian John Gurda.

"They were creative; they were incorruptible; they were absolutely incorruptible; they were frugal," Gurda said of the Socialists.
Creative, absolutely incorruptible, and frugal not bad ways for a politician to be remembered.

No comments: