Politics Friday: A conversation with George Latimer, St. Paul’s longest-serving mayor

A person poses for a portrait
George Latimer, as sharp and engaging as ever, resides in a senior housing and care facility in St. Paul on Tuesday, May 30, 2023.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

George Latimer is an iconic voice in Minnesota politics, and for some he is best known as a popular former mayor of Minnesota's capital city.

Latimer was St. Paul’s mayor from 1976 to 1990 and still holds the record for the longest- serving mayor in the city’s history. During his years in office, St. Paul underwent dramatic changes, including a downtown building boom.

But those accomplishments, while popular in St. Paul, weren’t enough to propel Latimer to victory when he sought the DFL nomination for governor in 1986. He lost the primary contest to Rudy Perpich.

Latimer went on to serve in the Clinton administration as an expert on housing and urban development, was later a professor at Macalester College and has advised many of his successors at city hall.

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Latimer, 87, still holds court and is eager to talk politics from the comfort of his bedroom at a senior housing and care facility in St. Paul. Latimer has been laughing, joking and reflecting on his long political career.

On a special edition of Politics Friday, former St. Paul Mayor George Latimer talks to retired MPR News host Gary Eichten.


  • George Latimer is the former mayor of St. Paul. He served in office from 1976-1990.  

  • Gary Eichten is a retired MPR News host.

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Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.