Late Governor Rudy PERPICH, of Croatian descent

Written by Ivo Penzar

Born as Croatian miner immigrant's son, Rudy Perpich (1928-1995) served three times (ten years) as DFL Governor of Minnesota.

A man of vision and ideas: World Trade Center St. Paul, Mall of America, Gorbachev's visit '90, Timberwolves, Super Bowl and Final Four in Minneapolis '92, ...

Recognized even by his opponents as 'One-man Minnesota State-Fair', education, tourism and sports governor. Signed legislation for casino gambling, charitable gambling, horse racing and state lottery.

Passionate hard-worker, an advocate of disabled, women, minorities and work-class. Always remained the godfather for his Iron Range community.

Hosted Pres. Tudjman in '90, then moved to Zagreb in '91 to help as a consultant to the new Croatian government.

Marlene Johnson, Perpich's lieutenant governor: "I think Rudy made half of his decisions while eating ice cream of carrot cake. He called me once to him at The Brothers at Southdale... At the time, I didn't know that the man never ate a vegetable... He said very matter of factly: 'Do you want to run for lieutenant governor?' I was so taken away... I said something... why we were doing this in such a public place. He responded while eating his triple-scoop chocolate sundae, 'Oh, this is fine. The ice cream is good here.'"

Ron Jerich, his appointee to Metropolitan Airports Commission: "I was taking Sen. D. Johnson, myself and Rudy to the Met center for a game... I said I'm going to park in the VIP area. He said, 'Don't use my name, don't use my name to get in there.' When I pulled in there, there was an orange safety cone. I said: 'Governor, get out and move that cone.' He got out to move it, so I could park in the spot where was probably illegal. He was just doing things like that, you know."

Bill Lester, executive director of Metropolitan Facilities Commission: "Perpich was in DC, campaigning for the Super Bowl... He launched into his wonderful story about how he doesn't own an overcoat, that he can get by without owning one in the winter... Philadelphia Eagles owner N. Braman, head of the Super Bowl committee, brusquely interrupted: 'Governor, we're coming, we're coming anyway. You don't need to convince me that you don't need a coat in the winter in Minneapolis.' Room exploded in laughter and Perpich new he had won another sports event."


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