Gov. Phil Murphy today directed flags to remain at half-staff in honor of former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, who died on Monday at age 93.
“In a remarkable career in public service that spanned more than a half-century, Walter Mondale brought good humor, dignity, kindness, and honesty to our politics – and most of that during times when our civil discourse sorely needed all four,” Murphy said.
Murphy’s order will remain in effect until sunset on the day of his burial.
“Walter Mondale is no footnote in American history. He left an indelible mark. He single-handedly changed the role of the vice-presidency from that of merely president-in-waiting to one of presidential advisor and confidant,” said Murphy. “His choice of Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate in the 1984 presidential campaign signaled a watershed moment for women in national politics.”
New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel, who worked on Mondale’s 1984 campaign, called the former Vice President “a wonderful man and friend.
“When you worked for Walter Mondale, it wasn’t a job. It was a cause and you were part of a family. Some of the best and most important parts of my life were when I worked for him and got to know him,” Tittel said. “I was one of his original Iowa staff, one of the Mondale Hogs, and I worked for him in many places. He sent me into New Jersey for the primary in ‘84, which was a crucial win that he needed to fill out the nomination.”
He said that Mondale staffers would get together with the former presidential candidate every few years for a reunion.
“We would get together with Walter every few years for a reunion. He may have been too decent of a person to win, but he would have been a great president,” stated Tittel. “He is someone who will be dearly missed. He has done a lot for the people of this country, and he was active up to the end.”
Tittel released an email he received from the Mondale family – a goodbye note from the former Vice President:
Well my time has come. I am eager to rejoin Joan and Eleanor. Before I Go I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. Never has a public servant had a better group of people working at their side!
Together we have accomplished so much and I know you will keep up the good fight.
Joe in the White House certainly helps.
I always knew it would be okay if I arrived some place and was greeted by one of you!
My best to all of you!
Mondale served as Attorney General of Minnesota and as a United States Senator until his election as Vice President on a ticket with Jimmy Carter in 1976. Carter and Mondale lost re-election four years later to Ronald Reagan and George Bush.
In 1984, Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination – he won a solid victory in the New Jersey primary election – but lost the general election to Reagan.