Bachelor cum laude, Augsburg College, Minneapolis, 1959; postgraduate, University of Minnesota, 1961-1962.
He received a Bachelor of Arts from Augsburg College in Minneapolis in 1959, later pursuing graduate studies at the University of Minnesota. He was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1960 at the age of 22, later serving as minority leader (1969-1972) and as the first Democrat to serve as house speaker (1973-1978). During his tenure in the state house he served terms as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures and of the National Legislative Conference, and was a presidential appointee to the National Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.
When eight-term incumbent and fellow DFLer Donald M. Fraser stepped down to run for the United States. Senate, Sabo became the DFL candidate to succeed him in what had become the most reliably Democratic district in Minnesota (Fraser had defeated a 10-term Republican in 1962 and hadn"t faced serious opposition since).
During the 103rd Congress (1993-1994) he chaired the House Budget Committee. As chairman of the Committee, he shepherded the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Acting of 1993 through the House, legislation that allowed the United States to erase its budget deficit by 1999.
Sabo was inducted into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame in 1994. During the course of his career Sabo referred to himself as a "liberal decentrist", preferring progressive politics, but local control instead of federal control.
Minnesota Congressional Districts shows the scores for the entire delegation.
On March 18, 2006 he announced that he would not run for reelection for the 110th Congress, ending 46 years as an elected official, including 28 years in Congress – the second-longest tenure in either house of Congress in the state"s history, behind only fellow Democrat Jim Oberstar. He endorsed his longtime chief of staff, Mike Erlandson, in the DFL primary—the real contest in this district. Sabo served as a co-chair of the National Transportation Policy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Foreign his work on acquiring funding for transportation projects and specifically pedestrian and bicycling funding, the Midtown Greenway bridge in Minneapolis was named the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge.
Sabo was a lifelong smoker until he quit in 2003. Sabo died March 13, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the age of 78.
He had been hospitalized with breathing difficulties. 2004 Race for United States. House of Representatives – 5th District
Martin Olav Sabo (DFL) (inc), 70%
Daniel Mathias (R), 24%
Jay Pond (G), 6%.
Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, Democratic Party.
The deficit subsequently returned) In the 109th United States Congress he sat on the House Appropriations Committee, and was the ranking member of that committee"s Homeland Security subcommittee. Sabo was considered to be the most liberal member of the Minnesota delegation in the 109th Congress, scoring 4% conservative by a conservative group and 90% progressive by a liberal group.
Married Sylvia Ann Lee, June 30, 1963. Children: Karin, Julie.