Tom Rukavina

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Tom Rukavina
Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives
from the 5A district
In office
1987 – January 7, 2013
Preceded by Dominic J. Elioff
Succeeded by Jason Metsa
Personal details
Born (1950-08-23) August 23, 1950 (age 66)
Virginia, Minnesota
Political party Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Children 2
Residence Virginia, Minnesota
Alma mater Mesabi Range Community and Technical College
University of Minnesota
Occupation legislator
Rukavina speaking in 2009.

Thomas "Tom" Rukavina (born August 23, 1950) is a Minnesota politician and former member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. A member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, he represented District 5A, including the Mesabi Range in St. Louis County in northeastern Minnesota.[1] In 2010 he was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor of Minnesota, seeking the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nomination. Rukavina was elected a St. Louis County Commissioner in 2014.

Rukavina has served thirteen terms in the Minnesota legislature since 1986.[1] In 2012, he announced he would not seek reelection, citing his frustration with the partisan atmosphere at the state Capitol.[2]

Early life and background[edit]

Rukavina was born in Virginia, Minnesota, and graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude in political science. He first held elected office in the 1970s on the Virginia School Board and Pike Town Board. Before becoming a full-time legislator, he worked in various positions, including at the Minntac taconite plant, as a logger and a naturalist at the Ironworld Discovery Center in Chisholm, Minnesota, and as an assistant director at Giants Ridge Ski Area.[2]

Rukavina garnered brief national attention from Fox News Channel on March 16, 2007, for a bill he introduced to ban the sale of foreign-made American flags in Minnesota. The bill later passed into law.[3]

2010 gubernatorial campaign[edit]

On July 23, 2009, Rukavina filed paperwork for an exploratory committee for Governor of Minnesota, making his candidacy official in early September.[4][5] He announced his decision at a Duluth park and was later endorsed by Congressman Jim Oberstar.[6] At the DFL state convention he gave an "electrifying" floor speech before conceding the race and endorsing Margaret Anderson Kelliher.[7]

TCF Bank Stadium and alcohol controversy[edit]

Rukavina was arrested on July 31, 2004, for fourth-degree drunk driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.15.[8] As a legislator, Rukavina had opposed lowering the legal limit from .10 to .08.

In 2009, Rukavina opposed allowing the University of Minnesota to sell beer and wine only in premium seats at TCF Bank Stadium. He insisted that the University alter its policy to sell alcohol to all legal drinkers throughout the stadium, including its own students.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Rukavina, Tom". Reference Library. Minnesota Legislature. 2009. Retrieved September 23, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Iron Ranger Rukavina files for governor's race - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports". 2009-07-23. Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  5. ^ "Rukavina files paperwork for governor's race " Minnesota Independent: News. Politics. Media". 2008-08-25. Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  6. ^ Kimball, Joe (September 8, 2009). "State DFL Rep. Rukavina officially joins race for governor". Political Agenda. Retrieved September 23, 2009. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "". Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  9. ^ PAT DOYLE, Star Tribune (2010-05-03). "TCF Stadium bill comes up dry". Retrieved 2010-07-20. 

External links[edit]

Minnesota House of Representatives
Preceded by
Dominic J. Elioff
Minnesota State Representative for District 5A
1987 – January 7, 2013
Succeeded by
Jason Metsa