A night of jokes and thanks for Iron Range’s Rukavina

Last night, more than 400 people piled into the Mt. Iron Community Center to roast retiring Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Pike Township), one of the most outspoken and well-known Iron Range lawmakers in recent memory. I am told that footage of the event will be forthcoming, which I will share here, but John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune was there and reported on some of the zingers delivered.

“Tommy Rukavina knows the Range. Tommy Rukavina speaks for the Range. Tommy Rukavina is the Range. I begin my remarks with those three quotes from Tommy Rukavina,” [U.S. Senator Al] Franken joked.


“He’s gotten a little conservative in his old age. He’s a socialist now,’’ said state Rep. Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing.

Gov. Mark Dayton, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rukavina’s replacement in the legislature, Rep.-elect Jason Metsa, was also on hand to roast Napoleon of the Iron Range, along with Rukavina’s family and several decades worth of friends and political colleagues. I regret that I could not attend the event, but had I been there, this is the strategy I would have deployed.

The long run time and volume of speakers appears to have delayed or otherwise deterred posting the video, but I have some photos of the event from Ted Fiskevold below the jump.

 Amusing beverage names were on display at the “Ruk Roast,” poking fun at both sides.

Gov. Mark Dayton gives his roast of former opponent Tom Rukavina.

More than 400 people attended the evening’s festivities.
A Tom Rukavina speech is always better in front of a large photo of Tom Rukavina.

Rep.-elect Jason Metsa (DFL-Virginia), who will succeed Rukavina in the legislature.

Rukavina greets Rep.-elect Rick Nolan.

Photo essay by Ted Fiskevold, member of National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, Twin Cities Chapter 13, AFL-CIO. You can see more of Ted’s work at his blogozine.

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