Seeming to relish his role as a DFL’s attack dog on jobs, state Rep. Tom Rukavina ripped into GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer’s record on jobs today.
Rukavina, who himself was running for governor until he lost the DFL nomination in April, said he’s supporting Mark Dayton and wants people to know about Emmer’s votes in the Legislature on some jobs bills.
Standing in front of an array of historic U.S. flags, Rukavina noted that Emmer voted six times against a 2007 bill, sponsored by Rukavina, that would require all American flags sold in Minnesota to be made in the United States. The bill eventually passed as part of a jobs bill that was signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Rukavina also highlighted other jobs bills and bonding bills that Emmer opposed, including a missed vote on a bill that offers rebates to Minnesotans who install solar panels.
“I’m afraid, if elected governor, Emmer will miss the boat on job creation and looking out for American workers,” he said.
And Rukavina, from Virginia, couldn’t help but refer several times to the ghost of former DFL Gov. Rudy Perpich, another Iron Ranger. Under Perpich, the state added tens of thousands of jobs, even coming out of a recession in the 1980s, he said. He said Perpich’s success shows that government and business can work together to create job.
He said he saw first-hand evidence of the job-making results of the federal stimulus bill, noting that he passed four different construction crews on the highways driving to St. Paul from the Range.
“But if Emmer had his way, we’d be building aircraft carriers in China to save dollars with slave labor,” he said.
Rukavina, who’s always been one of the most quotable members of the state House, said he missed meeting with reporters since the session ended and the end of his gubernatorial campaign after the DFL convention in Duluth.
He said Dayton has a “heart as big as the Iron Range” and will work to create jobs in Minnesota “like Rudy Perpich did.”
Asked if he hoped to get a job in a future Dayton administration, Rukavina said: “I’m not doing this because I want any position.” He said he has lots of fun in the state House, where he is seeking re-election to a 13th term.