This morning State Sen. David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm) announced that he would decline the position of Executive Director of the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools amid the continuing controversy over potential conflicts of interest.

Sen. Tomassoni issued this statement:

“Today the Campaign Finance Board issued the advisory opinion I requested relating to my role at RAMS. I am pleased that the opinion finds I do not have a conflict of interest in accepting this position,” Tomassoni said. “However, after further consideration of how best to represent my constituents and the Iron Range, I have decided to decline the role of Executive Director for RAMS.”

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation of the support from my constituents, colleagues, and RAMS Board during this process,” Tomassoni said.

There were two favorable outcomes to this story in my mind, and one necessary goal. Either Tomassoni would need to resign his seat in the Senate to serve as RAMS director, or he would need to back off the RAMS job to focus on the Senate. We now have one of those outcomes. For this positive outcome, I commend Sen. Tomassoni for making a good decision that solidifies his role as a representative of the people of the Iron Range.

From this outcome, however, I see a goal -- one that I hope others share. We, the people of the Iron Range, need to continuously demand better, not just of our elected officials, but of ourselves. Whether you're a DFLer, a Republican or independent, you have a role to play in making the Iron Range a more vibrant, economically diverse and culturally tolerant place -- the kind of place that my parents, David Tomassoni's parents and some of your parents wanted for us, and that we want for our children. This was my whole motivation in pressing this matter (often with more zeal than seemed necessary to some). This news is welcome, but not a cause for celebration. Rather today is just part of a deep, vital call to service and self-reflection for the people of the Iron Range -- of present, and future.

To quote Bob Dylan, "You Gotta Serve Somebody." Let's all serve the goal of a stronger Iron Range.

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