Former Minnesota State Rep. Tom Rukavina, who recently retired after 26 years in the legislature “because it was the right time to leave,” is getting back into politics. Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan has hired fellow Democrat Rukavina to be one of his district liaisons.
Rukavina, 62, officially retired last spring but he really hasn’t left politics. He was a very visible Nolan supporter during the campaign to unseat Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack. During that campaign he told The UpTake that while he didn’t miss the partisan bickering that has recently dominated Minnesota politics, he did miss the more enjoyable parts — such as talking to constituents.
As a district liaison, talking with constituents will be one of Rukavina’s main assignments.
Video of the feisty and fiery “Roook” in action
Above interview with Congressman Rick Nolan on Tom Rukavina. Below: Rukavina while in the Minnesota legislature.
“Tommy Rukavina was a wonderfully good, strong representative up in the Iron Range area. Very supportive in our campaign. Highly regarded by people in that region,” says Nolan. “He was very helpful in helping us to win this contest. And he’s very bright, very well received. As you know, Tommy’s quite passionate as well. I’m just delighted to have Tommy on my staff.”
Nolan and Rukavina are similar, according to Nolan’s Communications Director Steve Johnson. Both are “comfortable in their own skin.” During his tenure in the legislature, Rukavina was known for supporting the working class and his self-deprecating humor. He would proudly say he had underwear “made in the USA” and fought to include a provision that Minnesota-made steel be used in the publicly funded Vikings stadium. Last session he verbally sparred with Republicans over which party was “sticking it to the middle class” in a highly entertaining exchange that The UpTake captured on video and which you can see posted below.