Rukavina joins retirement list

During his ill-fated run for governor, state Rep.Tom Rukavina addresses delegates at the 2010 DFL convention in Duluth, Minn. (Derek Montgomery for MPR)

Longtime Iron Range state Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, has announced he will not seek a 14th term in the Minnesota House.

Rukavina released a letter today announcing to his colleagues his decision to retire after 26 years in office. In the letter, Rukavina said his decision was expedited by what he termed "the changing atmosphere at the Capitol."

"I recall a kinder and gentler time here when even the most conservative members of our body still believed government could do good things for our people," Rukavina wrote. "But times changed, and I haven't, so it's time for a new direction."

Rukavina was well known for his passionate and often humorous floor speeches. He was a candidate for governor in 2010.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, was stunned and saddened by the news.

"He is one of the all-time characters," Zellers said. "He is a true people's representative. He is great guy, a great, great friend. I will miss him deeply."

Here's Rukavina's retirement letter:

Rukavina Retirement Letter

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