New IRRRB Commissioner Ida Rukavina Discusses Her Role

Eveleth, Minn. — In January Ida Rukavina was appointed by Governor Walz as commissioner of the IRRRB. The name is familiar, because her father was Tom Rukavina, a state legislator for 26 years and who was known as an Iron Range Champion.

One of IRRRB’s roles is to help diversify industry on the range. That will bring in more people and help stabilize the economy that is still heavily dependent on mining.

Rukavina says last week’s decision by an engineered wood company–Huber–to not build a 400 million dollar plant in Cohasset, is a major letdown.

“It’s up and downs, but we’re kinda used to that in Northern Minnesota,” said Rukavina. “The Huber news is a huge disappointment to our agency, to the state, there’s a lot of employees that worked on that project, so it’s a sad day for that”

In the month and a half since she was appointed, Rukavina has spent much of her time in St. Paul testifying before various committees in the legislature. Her plans after the session ends is to visit the cities, counties, and schools that are served by the IRRRB to hear their needs and concerns.

Already Rukavina is aware that housing, child care and jobs are some of the major issues facing northern Minnesota. She says she will begin to address those issues and continue working to attract businesses that will help diversify industry on the Range.

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