Extended accolades came from both sides of the aisle as the Minnesota House remembered former Representative Tom Rukavina who died Monday at age 68 after a battle with leukemia. Hibbing Representative Julie Sandstede choked back tears as she told colleagues, “There is truly a hole in the heart of the Range…. In his hospital bed, Tommy wrote a letter…. He said, ‘Hate helps no one. Love solves all things.'”
Preston Republican Greg Davids recalls when Rukavina wanted something in a bill that didn’t get in and chastised the Republican committee chair saying, “Representative Davids, if I ever need a heart transplant, I’m gonna ask for yours because it’s never been used.”
Minneapolis Democrat Frank Hornstein says Rukavina and the late Senator Paul Wellstone were good friends. “Paul and Tom shared so much together. They were short in stature but big in impact,” said Hornstein. “Paul was a giant in Minnesota politics, as was Tom, and I just don’t think there’s going to be another Paul or another Tom.”
Rukavina’s funeral is a week from Saturday in Virginia on Minnesota’s Iron Range.