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Bill Frenzel, U.S. Congressman for 20 years, dies at age 86

Frenzel represented the western Twin Cities suburbs in Congress, then lobbied in Washington for NAFTA.

Bill Frenzel, who represented the western Twin Cities suburbs in Congress for 20 years, died today at his home in Virginia. He was 86.

A moderate Republican, Frenzel served in the Minnesota Legislature for eight years, from 1962-70, before being elected to Congress.

During his ten terms in Congress, from 1971-91, he worked his way up to ranking minority member of the House Budget Committee and he served on the Ways and Means Committee.

He didn’t seek reelection in 1990, and later was appointed by President Clinton to lobby for the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA.

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He attended school at St. Paul Academy, and earned his B.A. from Dartmouth College.

Congressman Erik Paulsen, who represents that area now, said in a statement:

“Bill was widely regarded as somebody with a willingness to bridge divides in Washington and work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle.  While many of his personal acquaintances will remember him for his famous ‘Frenzel doodles’, Bill will be especially remembered for his vision and leadership setting a trade agenda that to this day continues to open markets for American products and services that create jobs here at home.”

He’s survived by wife, Ruthie, and three daughters. An announcement about services will come later.