• Frenzel and Friends
  • Congressman Bill Frenzel was awarded the "Order of the Aztec Eagle"

In Memorium

William "Bill" Frenzel, Former Minnesota Congressman, and Co-Founder, Economic Club of Minnesota, Has Died

Minneapolis, Nov. 17 -- William “Bill” Frenzel, Minnesota member of the House of Representatives representing the Third District from 1971-1991, guest scholar at the Brookings Institution since 1991, and co-founder of the Economic Club of Minnesota with former Congressmen Mark Kennedy and Tim Penny, has died at age 86.  

He passed away peacefully with his family at his side at his home in Virginia this morning.

Frenzel was the ranking minority member on the House Budget Committee and was the principal Republican economic spokesperson in the House.  He was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and its Trade Subcommittee, and was a congressional representative to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in Geneva for fifteen years.  In 1993, he was special advisor to the president for NAFTA.  

In 2001, President Bush appointed him to the Social Security Commission, and in 2002, to the Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), which he chaired.  In January, 2005, he was appointed to President Bush’s Tax Reform Commission. 

In 2000, he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, by the Emperor of Japan.   In 2002, he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Hamline University.   In 2014, he was awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle by Mexican Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora for his work on NAFTA.  This is the highest honor bestowed by the Mexican government on non-citizens.  Bill also received the Economic Club of Minnesota’s first annual Champion of Free Trade award in Washington, D.C., as part of their celebration of the 20th Anniversary of NAFTA earlier this year.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague.  Bill was a terrific leader, a devoted husband and father, and a good friend and mentor to so many, including me. Long after he retired from politics, he remained active in public policy as a national leader on expanding trade and reducing the national debt.  Bill worked on the issues he cared about right until the end – going to his office at Brookings every day until just a few weeks ago.

“We will miss Bill’s leadership, keen insights and delightful sense of humor!  The Economic Club will do our best to carry on his work to strengthen international trade and restore fiscal responsibility.   Bill will be dearly missed by all of us at the Economic Club.”

Former Congressman Tim Penny recalled that “Bill became one of my mentors shortly after I arrived in D.C. I always knew I could trust the accuracy of his view on any given issue – particularly budget and tax matters. One of his staffers recently recalled a day when Bill returned to the office after one of these conversations as saying “I am pleased to say that young Mr. Penny will be supporting us on this issue.

“Later in my tenure on the Hill, I do remember occasions where Bill would suggest opportunities for me to offer budget related amendments (in order to keep spending levels within the budget).”

Frenzel received his B.A. and M.B.A. from Dartmouth College and served as a Naval Officer during the Korean War.  He was president of the Minneapolis Terminal Warehouse Co., and other corporations, a member of the Executive Board of the American Warehousemen's Association, and served eight years in the Minnesota Legislature. 

He was vice chairman of the Eurasia Foundation, chairman of the U.S. Steering Committee of the Transatlantic Policy Network, co-chairman of the Center for Strategic Tax Reform, co-chairman of the Bretton Woods Committee, co-chairman of the Committee For A Responsible Federal Budget, chairman of the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, a member of the Executive Committee of the Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Tax and Investment Center. 

He is a founding board member of the Economic Club of Minnesota, Board member of Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Leadership and Management, Sit Mutual Funds, Northstar Education Finance, and other organizations. 

Frenzel and his wife, Ruthy, are the parents of three daughters and grandparents of two grandchildren.

The Economic Club of Minnesota is a leading venue for major speeches on business, finance and public policy, and provides a top-tier audience for national and international leaders to meet and exchange ideas.

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Contact:  Kristin Robbins, Economic Club of Minnesota, (612) 819-9217

                  David Hakensen, FleishmanHillard, (612) 573-3111

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MEXICO PRESENTS ITS HIGHEST AWARD TO FORMER CONGRESSMAN BILL FRENZEL

CO-FOUNDER, ECONOMIC CLUB OF MINNESOTA

Washington, D.C., October 20, 2014 - Today former Congressman Bill Frenzel (R-MN) was awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest award Mexico confers on foreigners. Also receiving the award was Bill Daley, former Sec. of Commerce, and former Chief of Staff to President Obama.

Presented by Mexican Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora on the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Award recognizes the work done by Frenzel, a Republican, and Daley, a Democrat, who served as Special Assistants to President Clinton in 1993 to secure passage of the NAFTA legislation in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.

Frenzel also received the Order of the Rising Sun Award, the Gold Star and the Silver Star from the Emperor of Japan in 2000 for his many years of work in enhancing and expanding trade between the US and Japan.

In January, 2014, he received the Economic Club of Minnesota’s first annual Champion of Free Trade Award in Washington, D.C., for his lifetime commitment to expanding the global trading system. 

Frenzel served in Congress from 1971-1991, where he was the ranking minority member on the House Budget Committee and was the principal Republican economic spokesperson in the House.  He was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and its Trade Subcommittee, and was a congressional representative to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in Geneva for fifteen years.  As noted above, in 1993, he served as a volunteer Special Advisor to President Clinton for NAFTA.  

In 2001, President Bush appointed him to the Social Security Commission, and in 2002, to the Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), which he chairs.  In January, 2005, he was appointed to President Bush’s Tax Reform Commission. 

He is presently a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington.  He is a founding board member of the Economic Club of Minnesota and has served on numerous other boards, including Eurasia Foundation, chairman of the US Steering Committee of the Transatlantic Policy Network, co-chairman of the Center for Strategic Tax Reform, co-chairman of the Bretton Woods Committee, co-chairman of the Committee For A Responsible Federal Budget, chairman of the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, a member of the Executive Committee of the Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Tax and Investment Center. 

Frenzel received his B.A. and M.B.A. from Dartmouth College and served as a Naval Officer during the Korean War.   Frenzel and his wife, Ruthy, are the parents of three daughters and grandparents of two perfect grandchildren.

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 Bill Frenzel receiving the Order of the Aztec Eagle Award from Ambassador Medina Mora

ECOMN Board

L-R: Mark Olson (former Fed Governor on ECOM Board), Craig Shaver (ECOM Board, former Frenzel staff), Tim Penny (Former Congressman, ECOM Board), Spencer Shaver (Student, GWU), Bill Frenzel, Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Mark Kennedy (former Congressman, ECOM Board Chair)

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 Bill Frenzel with Former U.S. Trade Represenative Ambassador Carla A. Hills