Former Vice President Walter Mondale died Monday at the age of 93, and his family noted his role in passing the Fair Housing Act as a senator from Minnesota.
“As proud as we were of him leading the presidential ticket for Democrats in 1984, we know that our father’s public policy legacy is so much more than that,” the Mondale family said in a statement. “The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was one of his proudest – and hardest fought – achievements.”
Mondale served in the U.S. Senate from 1964 to 1976, when he was elected vice president under President Jimmy Carter. He was the Democratic nominee for president in 1984, losing 49 states to Ronald Reagan.
Mondale was the co-author of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, and – as later amended – handicap and family status.
Nearly 50 years after its passage, Mondale lamented that the law was never fully enforced.“The view of how America speaks is reflected in our laws. And one of the laws is fair housing. It very clearly prohibits discrimination in the sale and rental of housing in America,” Mondale told NPR in 2018. “It’s been a sad fact of American life that the practice in many communities has been quite the opposite. That’s why we passed the bill – to make a change. There’s a lot of bad consequences that flow from segregation. The kids don’t do as well. We live separately. We don’t learn about each other. We’re all Americans. And yet, we separate based on, basically, race. And I believe it’s got to stop.”