ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Rep. Tom Rukavina has been a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, serving 13 terms since 1986. Now, he is retiring to spend more time with his granddaughter.
“I got a wonderful opportunity last fall, to take care of my first grandchild, I did day care four days a week, six to eight hours a day, and I got smitten, and I just want to be with her,” Rukavina said.
Rukavina said the legislature has changed a lot since he first got there.
“You know when I first got there in 1987, the range was going through some huge financial difficulties, as was a lot of agricultural part of the state as well,” he said.
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Rudy Perpich was Governor then, and he said people still believed that government can do good things for people.
“You could sit across the isle of a person that had different philosophy and it seemed like it wasn’t so divisive like it is today,” he said.
He pointed to the “gift ban,” as a turning point in strained relations.
Rukavina said he is most proud of his work on the Iron Range. He got a bill passed back in the mid-90s with Gov. Arne Carlson, that said, when a mine closes state mandates, that it had so stay open for a couple of years.
He said he will miss the work, but happy to be spending time with his family.