Montana’s Visionary Mayor, Willard E. Fraser, by Lou Mandler [Billings]
By Lou Mandler. Softcover, 376 pages.
Willard Edward Fraser (1907-1972) was mayor of Billings, Montana, during the turbulent Vietnam War era, but his reach and impact lay far beyond the borders of the Magic City. Fraser brought vision and energy to the mayor’s office, using it as a platform to promote Billings and Montana to the world. He tackled air and water pollution, cleaned up urban blight, and ensured that women, youth, and minorities were not marginalized. He championed Montana’s history, cultural heritage, and tourism potential. A true humanitarian, Fraser was equally comfortable rubbing elbows with high-level politicians and celebrities—like his father-in-law, Robert Frost—and hobnobbing with the “bums” on Skid Row. He followed his conscience even when it meant bucking the party line. No stranger to tragedy or defeat, Fraser served the people and the state he loved with optimism, dedication, and panache.
"A political gadfly, a raconteur of the first order, and an indefatigable environmentalist before the term became fashionable—if anyone had moxie and pizzazz, it was Willard Fraser. Fraser served four terms as the progressive mayor of Billings, Montana’s largest and most conservative city, during the 1960s. As Lou Mandler’s sprightly written, extensively researched biography reveals, Fraser was the rare politician: a hard-working, imaginative visionary with pragmatic flexibility. He rightfully claims the title as “Billings’s greatest mayor."
- Keith Edgerton, historian, Montana State University-Billings
"Montana’s Visionary Mayor adds to the twentieth-century history of Big Sky Country. This book is a gem!"
- Hal Stearns, historian, Missoula, Montana
Softcover, 376 pages.