Reaction to the News of the Death of Tom Rukavina

Updated: January 07, 2019 05:17 PM

The news spread on Monday afternoon regarding the death of longtime Iron Range political leader, Tom Rukavina.  Rukavina, a DFL'er from Virginia, was known for passionate speeches during his 26 years in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He died early Monday morning.  He was 68.

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Local political leaders and friends reacted to the news.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) sent a statement from Washington:

“Minnesota and the Iron Range have lost a true champion for workers. Tom Rukavina understood the dignity of hard work, and was a force for Iron Range workers and their families. He spent nearly three decades in elected office on the Range fighting for miners and bringing good-paying union jobs to the region. As Tom would tell it, he was for the little fellers, not the Rockefellers—a tribute to his friend and the late Senator Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash on his way to attend a funeral for Tom’s father, Bennie. Tom also taught his children the value of service. His daughter, Ida, leads my Northern Minnesota office and shares her father’s strength and tenacity. My prayers are with Ida and the entire Rukavina family today.”

Former Rep. Jason Metsa:

First and foremost my thoughts and prayers go out to Tom’s family. The people of Minnesota lost a champion today. Tom’s passion for making life better for working families will live on through those he helped along his way. He was a mentor and a friend and I will miss him dearly.

Sen. Dave Tomassoni:

“It doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t seem real. We were just talking about him getting a bone marrow transplant and beating this thing. He was my best friend. I couldn’t have had a better friend.”

Tom Hauser, KSTP Political Reporter tweeted:

The 68-year old Rukavina was known as a fighter for the “little guy.” Small in stature himself, he had a huge personality and was a force for liberal causes and passionate union supporter. When he ran for gov, he handed out union-made underwear that said “refreshingly honest.

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