When it comes to political ideology, it’s difficult picturing 2 people more opposite of each other than Chip Cravaack and Tom Rukavina. Still, they’re on the same side of the federal-state land swap that Gov. Dayton signed into law. This op-ed from State Rep. Ruckavina argues for the land swap from an Iron Range DFL perspective. Here’s the part of Rep. Ruckavina’s op-ed that deserves highlighting:

Next, let’s talk about Mr. Carron’s claim that “Ely area residents…will lose scores of thousands of acres of Superior National Forest land that are now available for hunting, snowmobiling, hiking, snowshoeing, and many other recreational pursuits.” While many of the “old immigrants” from the Ely and Tower area must be thinking that he’s talking about the original Boundary Waters Act, Mr. Carron, let me assure them that this claim about the land exchange is an absolute lie. In fact, Ely and Tower area residents will have an easier time recreating on the new state land. But that’s really why environmentalists oppose this bill— because they know it will be easier to put in a snowmobile trail or cut down a tree on state land than on federal land.

There’s a name for Iron Rangers that vote against making outdoor recreation more difficult. That term is retired. (It’s irrelevant whether it’s a voluntary or involuntary retirement. The important part is that that Ranger is history.) Rep. Rukavina didn’t stop there, though:

Mr. Carron’s letter, to put it in Range-speak, is just a bunch of BS. To imply that any member of the Iron Range delegation is supporting this legislation because we are stoolies for “multinational mining companies” is nuts. I am always going to be on the side of the miners and our mining communities, and not the big companies. But while I am no economic genius, I know that without mining and mining companies, we have no Iron Range.

That last sentence is the Rukavina equivalent of Reagan’s line that you can’t be pro jobs and anti-business.

Rukavina’s closing shows how big the difference there is between Iron Range DFLers and DFL politicians of the Twin Cities:

Here’s Mr. Rukavina’s final strong shot at the Twin Cities enviro-elitists:

Ely, Tower, Winton, Cook Grand Rapids, and the North Shore couldn’t exist without our taconite industry. And the truth is, we are currently mining in the Superior National Forest, and we haven’t harmed it, have we? Minntac, Arcelor Mittal, North Shore Mining, and Mesabi Nugget are all currently operating in the Superior National Forest and it’s their taconite taxes that keep all our communities, including Duluth, alive.

That’s gotta sting people like Alida Rockefeller-Messinger, Dee Long, Tom Horner, Jim Ramstad and Margaret Anderson-Kelliher. They, along with Arne Carlson, Dave Durenberger and Paul Aasen, are the people that should get hurt by Rep. Ruckavina’s op-ed.

I wrote here that Chip Cravaack’s legislation mirrored the bill that Gov. Dayton signed into law. In fact, Chip’s legislation includes this language:

“(7) The Legislature of the State of Minnesota, meeting in its 87th Legislative Session, passed (and on April 27, 2012, the Governor of Minnesota approved) S.F No. 1750 (Chapter 236), section 4 of which adds section 92.80 to the Minnesota Statutes to expedite the exchange of a portion of the State trust lands located within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

(b) LAND EXCHANGE REQUIRED.—The Secretary of Agriculture shall consummate a land exchange with the State of Minnesota pursuant to section 4 of S.F No. 1750 (Chapter 236) of the Legislature of the State of Minnesota (section 92.80 of the Minnesota Statutes) to acquire all right, title, and interest of the State in and to certain State trust lands identified as provided in such section in exchange for all right, title, and interest of the United States in and to National Forest System land in the State for inclusion in the State trust lands.

Tom Rukavina voted for S.F.1750. Chip Cravaack authored legislation that made S.F.1750 federal law.

The only thing stranger than those bedfellows would be seeing Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar pushing Senate Majority Leader Reid to get this bill passed and to have President Obama sign it.

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6 Responses to “Chip Cravaack, Tom Rukavina, the strange bedfellows edition”

  • walter hanson says:


    The environment movement has already told them they can’t do that. The strange thing will if they signed off on this commonsense idea.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • Gary Gross says:

    Walter, Militant environmentalists don’t have the final say in this. Readers of this blog should start calling DFL obstructionists & telling them that there’s a political price they’ll pay for their loyalty to Twin Cities elitists like Alida Messinger, Jim Ramstad, Arne Carlson, Dee Long, Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, Tom Horner & Paul Aasen.

  • Bob J. says:

    Great post, Gary. Just for the record, though, it’s spelled “Rukavina”. Just in case you want to do any more writing on this issue.

    Craavack is on the right side of this issue. I’m in his district and he’s doing a great job.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Good catch Bob. The spelling has been corrected.

  • walter hanson says:


    Forgive me, but I didn’t make my joke clear.

    You made a comment what will be stranger if Franken and Amy K was asking for the passage. In theory they are more likely to do that than the environmental groups signing off on the commonsense idea of Chip’s proposal.

    This is just another example the environmental movement doesn’t care about economic growth.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • Gary Gross says:

    Point well taken, Walter.

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