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Oberstar endorses Rukavina for governor

Tom Rukavina

Iron Ranger to Iron Ranger, U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar gave his endorsement Tuesday to state Rep. Tom Rukavina for governor.

"I'm supporting Tom Rukavina for governor because he has unwavering commitment to our core DFL values: jobs for our people, educational opportunities for our children, and economic fairness for every citizen of Minnesota," the 8th District Democrat said Tuesday in a statement.

Oberstar, serving in the U.S. House since 1974, is from Chisholm, while Rukavina, a 12-term Democrat in the Minnesota House, is from Virginia.

"Tom Rukavina has the passion, the ethics, and a good sense of humor to excite DFL and independent voters across our great state.  Tom Rukavina can win this race, and I'm committed to helping make that happen," Oberstar said.

"For as long as I can remember, Jim Oberstar has been fighting for jobs, health care, and a better Minnesota," Rukavina said in the statement issued by his campaign. "I am so proud to have earned the support of Jim Oberstar -- when the dean of the Minnesota Congressional Delegation speaks, people listen. He is a DFLer that everyone honors for his commitment to public service and the highest ethical standards."

Oberstar is the second Minnesota DFL congressman to endorse a candidate for governor. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison is supporting former Minnesota House Minority Leader Matt Entenza of St. Paul. U.S. Rep. Betsy McCollum had earlier endorsed former state Sen. Steve Kelley, who has dropped out of the race.

Rukavina "will be great for rural Minnesota, as well as a passionate advocate for urban and suburban Minnesota," Oberstar said. "He has the experience in state government to bring the leadership we need to get Minnesota moving again."

Rukavina added that "the race for the DFL nomination is wide open, and I'm excited about earning Jim Oberstar's vote. I'll be working to encourage uncommitted delegates to follow Mr. Oberstar's lead."

Oberstar is chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee while Rukavina chairs the Minnesota House Higher Education and Workforce Development Finance and Policy Division.