Emily Staples Tuttle, pioneer in Minnesota politics, dies at 88

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U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s first political campaign experience came at age 14, door-knocking for Emily Anne Staples Tuttle, whose 1974 bid for the Minnesota House failed but left an indelible impression on her young volunteer.

“She was just so smart, and she was in charge and she was energetic,” Klobuchar said.

Staples Tuttle went on to win a seat in the Minnesota Senate in 1976, becoming the first DFL woman to do so. She continued to break barriers for women, helping to found the Minnesota Women’s Campaign Fund and the Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus.

“I stand on her shoulders,” Klobuchar said.

Staples Tuttle died Jan. 13 of a heart attack. She was 88.

“It never occurred to me that I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do because I was a woman,” said daughter Missy Staples Thompson. “And that was because Mom was such a trailblazer.”

Staples Tuttle was born in Minneapolis to a homemaker mother who taught English to immigrants and a father who wrote for the Minneapolis Journal. She followed her father around on assignments, witnessing the labor unrest of the 1930s firsthand. At home, she was surrounded by her parents’ love for the arts, which later led to her involvement with the Walker Art Center and Guthrie Theater.

She earned her B.A. from the University of Minnesota in 1950 and her M.P.A. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

She worked in public relations in New York City and Paris, returning to Minnesota in 1954. She married…

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