Long-time Iron Range and Minnesota politician Tom Rukavina has passed away at the age of 68.  The Virginia-native served in the Minnesota House of Representatives, ran unsuccessfully for Governor in 2010, and was most-recently a St. Louis County Commissioner.

Rukavina's entry into politics started part-time as a school board member in the 1970's.  Along the way he worked in the taconite mines, at Ironworld Discovery Center, and as Assistant Director at Giants Ridge.

A deep-blue Democrat, Tom Rukavina championed liberal causes.  His ancestry also left him as the watchdog for Iron Range causes and political issues.

St. Louis County Administrator Kevin Gray issued the following statement on Rukavina's passing:

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Tom Rukavina. As a commissioner and former state representative, he was a passionate advocate for the people of his district. His legacy will live on in many places – perhaps the most notable from his time as county commissioner was the establishment of a scholarship fund using iron ore royalties to assist students at community colleges in St. Louis County. Our county is a better place because of Tom’s dedicated service, and we will miss him.

Rukavina died while seeing treatment for leukemia.