University of Minnesota Law School. University of Minnesota.
He served in the Minnesota State Legislature from 1909 to 1911, was elected the 20th Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota in 1912, and then served as the 19th Governor of Minnesota from December 30, 1915 to January 5, 1921. He became Governor after the death of Governor Winfield Scott Hammond. After leaving government for 17 years to practice law, Burnquist returned to serve as Minnesota Attorney General from January 2, 1939 until January 3, 1955 — the second longest tenure of any individual to hold that position.
After a brief time practicing law in Saint Paul, he entered politics as a state legislator in 1908.
During his second term as lieutenant governor, he succeeded Governor Hammond, who died in office. Turbulent times surrounded America"s entrance into World War I in 1917.
Not all Americans supported United States. involvement in a European war, and this feeling was heightened in Minnesota because of dissatisfaction among farmers and laborers, who were more concerned with domestic policy than with the conflict overseas. Supporters of the war, suspicious of radicals, pacifists, and the foreign-born, acted quickly to stifle dissent.
While primarily concerned with war issues, Burnquist also initiated legislation that improved the state highways, disaster assistance programs, labor relations, and, especially the welfare of children.
After leaving office he practiced law for 17 years before beginning his lengthy tenure as state Attorney General in 1939. At 16 years and 1 day, he was narrowly surpassed by Skip Humphrey, who served 16 years and 3 days at the end of his tenure in 1999, for longest served Minnesota Attorney General. During the 1920s, he wrote several works in the series "Minnesota and its People" at his home in Saint Paul.
Death and legacy
Burnquist died on January 12, 1961 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Until his death at the age of 81, Burnquist maintained the bearing and manner of a strong-willed senior statesman.