Rep. Tom Rukavina (
by Steve Timmer
Aug 27, 2013, 2:00 PM

Hey Ruk! Just look around!

Did your old House district get geographically smaller or larger when last redistricted? It got bigger, right?

Similarly, what happened to the Eighth Congressional District? It got bigger geographically, too? You don’t say.

What does this mean, Ruk? It means you need more real estate to get enough people to have a Minnesota or US House district. It also means that the percentage of Rangers as a percentage of the Minnesota population is shrinking. It makes this comment from Tom Rukavina, former member of the Minnesota House, quoted here in a Strib story about sulfide mining in northern Minnesota, more absurd:

“There’s a lot more Rangers than environmentalists,” said former DFL state Rep. Tom Rukavina, now an aide for U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn. “We built America and won two world wars for this country. If they can’t figure that out, then I guess they have a lesson to learn.”

I have always liked the Ruk; I’m impressed with his retail political skills and his sense of humor. But I think he’s wide of the mark here. And windy, too.

I will bet you a dollar, Rep. Rukavina, that there are more canoes in the Twin Cities than there are Rangers on the Range. Which is another way of saying that Rep. Rukavina forgets himself when he thinks he can just muscle this one politically.

There are newspapers all over the state that are opining that the issue is not just for the Rangers to decide. Because it is not.

Without even debating Who Won the War, it’s a silly point to make on behalf of a Canadian mining company whose principal shareholder is Glencore, the Swiss mining consortium. Or another Canadian mining company that has a Chilean mining company as a joint venture partner.

What side did the Swiss fight on in WWII, Ruk? Or the Chileans, for that matter?

The low grade copper ore in northern Minnesota isn’t going to win us any wars, not even a price war at Home Depot for copper tubing. Not that the Swiss or the Chileans are interested in fighting for us anyway.

According to the PolyMet website, the last time I looked, it estimated that its open pit mines of 450 acres will produce 360 jobs (many of which aren’t even going to go to local people).

That isn’t much for the certainty — yes, certainty — of serious environmental degradation for longer than Rep. Rukavina, his children, or even his children’s children’s children, will be around.

Swapping the state’s clean water heritage for this bag of beans is ludicrous. That is becoming increasingly clear to more Minnesotans, and it’s figuring into Governor Dayton’s political calculus, as it should. Again from the linked article in the Strib:

“I certainly don’t want my legacy after one or two terms to be the contamination of the treasure that exists in that part of the state,” Dayton said of northeastern Minnesota. “So you weigh it all in the balance.”

Update: Commenter John writes:

Just for the record: Chile was neutral in WW2 for most of the  but like Argentina leaned towards fascist Europe. Both countries declared war on Japan pretty much just before Japan surrendered.

And Switzerland was, of course, neutral.

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