Freeman, Orville Lothrop

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Freeman, Orville Lothrop

Orville Lothrop Freeman, 1918–2003, American political figure, b. Minneapolis. In World War II he served in the U.S. marine corps, was severely wounded, and was discharged with the rank of major in 1945. After the war he engaged in private law practice and became active in politics. Running on the Democratic–Farmer-Labor party ticket, Freeman was elected governor of Minnesota in 1954 (the first non-Republican governor in 17 years) and was reelected in 1956 and 1958. As governor he greatly expanded state aid to elementary and higher education and worked to improve the state's health institutions. Following his defeat for reelection as governor, he was appointed secretary of agriculture by President John F. Kennedy. He advocated substantial crop supports and controls, use of farm surpluses as an instrument of foreign policy, food gifts to depressed areas, and the food stamp and school breakfast programs. Secretary from 1961 to 1969, he served throughout the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

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