Longtime Minnesota lawmaker David Tomassoni, has died

(KSTP) – A longtime state lawmaker from the Iron Range has died at the age of 69.

Friday, family members confirmed Sen. David Tomassoni, I-Chisholm, passed away. Last summer, he revealed his battle with ALS and had announced his intention to retire at the end of this year.

First elected as a state lawmaker in 1992, Tomassoni served in the Minnesota House of Representatives for eight years before being elected to the Senate in 2000.

This spring, Tomassoni was part of a bill signing that will provide grants of $20 million for ALS research and another $5 million to help families and patients with caregiving.

“He and his family have served the Iron Range for decades,” Gov. Walz said before signing that bill. “They are a family name, a well-known household name in northern Minnesota, and now that’s true across Minnesota.”

“This is about making the future better,” Tomassoni said at the ceremony. “We can all be proud of that. This is truly a good day.”

Before getting into politics, Tomassoni played high school hockey at Chisholm High School, then four years for Denver University, which included trips to two Frozen Fours. He also played on the 1984 Olympic hockey team for Italy, and even played against Wayne Gretzky in a 1982 international tournament, of which he proudly displayed a picture in his office.

In the Minnesota Legislature, he was widely respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle for his sense of fair play and humor.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) released the statement below following the passing of Tomassoni.

“David Tomassoni will be remembered as a wonderful friend, an incredible Olympian, and a fighter for the Iron Range. For decades, he worked every day to deliver real results for workers and families—like bringing good-paying jobs to his district, improving schools, and advocating for safe conditions for miners.

“David battled ALS to the end and even participated in a committee hearing via video this week. He never stopped working for Northern Minnesota.

“There may be no better example of David’s dedication to public service than the letter he shared with his constituents following his ALS diagnosis. He wrote, “I give you my word that my brain and my body will continue to represent you with the same passion and vigor I’ve tried to give in the past.”

“Even through the greatest battle of his life, David lived up to his promise to serve. I will miss his good humor and the twinkle in his eye. I will miss his funny texts and phone calls. Like his family, I find solace in knowing he fought the good fight and will now be at peace.”