Steve Giorgi
Executive Director
Phone: 218-780-8877

Image "Hull Rust" by Amy Flanigan

RAMS hearing 1940

Scheuring Speed Sports Aurora, MN photo by Paul Pluswick

Commissioner Mark Phillips 2015 Annual RAMS Meeting Vice President Jim Fisher /Director Steve Giorgi

Kawishiwi Falls - Ely MN photo by Adrian Koski 2016



Tower Airport photo by Adrian Koski

Moon over Queen City photo created by Matt Herberg

RAMS delegation with Senator Klobuchar

NEW MEMBERS 2016: City of Keewatin Latest to Join RAMS!

Just last week a meeting with the city council of Keewatin ended with a very positive outcome for RAMS, another new member joined our ranks. That brings our total up to 47 public sector members across the TAA (Taconite Assistance Area). Membership has grown this year with three other new member groups including Biwabik, Fayal Township and the city of Two Harbors coming aboard in 2016.. Now more than ever, we need to unite under one umbrella for a louder and stronger voice at the legislature and for our region. If you know of a neighboring community or township that is not currently a member, please reach out to them, or contact me and I will meet with the leadership and discuss membership. ONE RANGE – ONE VOICE!!

Fostering economic development across Minnesota’s Iron Range

One Range… One Voice

Ensuring the voices of our Range cities, townships, and schools will be heard on the issues of economic enhancement and quality of life.

Serving Cities, Townships and Schools since 1939.

The Range Association of Municipalities & Schools (RAMS) was created in 1939 by the joining together of the Range Civic Association and the Range Municipalities Committee to promote legislation beneficial to its membership.
The main function of RAMS is to monitor proposed State and Federal legislation and determine how it may affect Association member units of government. The Range Association of Municipalities & Schools (RAMS) works closely with the Iron Range Delegation, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) , and area economic development entities to further community development and quality of life for all member units.

Virginia School Board Director

Kim Stokes, Virginia School Board

Message From the Board

Someone recently asked me why I chose to live on the Iron Range. It was a thought-provoking question for me, given my determination after high school to leave for the big lights and big city, vowing never to return to the Range or marry a Ranger. Little did I know that a few years later I would I end up back home with a new job, AND married to that Ranger I met while working in the Twin Cities. Turns out it was a good decision.

It was a good decision to live here and raise a family because of what the Iron Range has to offer.

Shared values ~ Range values.

Range values are the kind of values our grandparents brought with them from “the old country” – Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Germany, and Finland to name a few. They had a vision for a better life not only for themselves, but for the grandchildren they hoped to meet someday. They were risk takers who knew the value of hard work, determination, and perseverance. Their emphasis on education and belief in good citizenship are trademarks still with us on the Range.

We know the importance of family and Sunday dinners after church, the joy of a polka mass, and the value of education and hard work.

We know that voting is both a right and a privilege – and we vote in higher numbers than nearly anywhere else in the country.

Rangers aren’t shy about telling you exactly how they feel – sometimes whether you asked them or not. They tell it like it is. No hidden agendas.

We understand that we need to stick together to make things happen and that community service is required of us to give back a little of what we were given already.

Rangers help other Rangers.

We experienced the generosity of Rangers first hand after we had a house fire. And every weekend on the Range there are numerous fundraisers and benefits community members organize for others in need. This kind of help from Rangers isn’t confined geographically to the Range. For nearly three decades, transplanted Rangers in the Twin Cities have raised thousands of scholarship dollars for Iron Range students, and most recently, $12,000 for the Buddy Backpack program in our schools via the annual RangerSpiel in St. Paul. Once a Ranger, always a Ranger.

Recreational opportunities abound!

We live where we play! Right outside our doors we can hike-bike-walk-ski-swim-snowshoe-fish-camp-hunt. Northern lights dance in our skies on summer evenings and we enjoy them after a good hot sauna and while relaxing around a campfire. What’s not to like?

We face some economic challenges these days. And we will meet those challenges with our hard work, determination and perseverance. RAMS is one vehicle where we can and will speak as One Range. One Voice.



Message From Director

Conversation with Governor Dayton – April Fool’s Day!

Friday, April 1st turned out to be an interesting April Fool's Day. Governor Dayton agreed to meet with the Ely City Council and the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools but the meetings would be held at the IRRRB office building south of Eveleth. Since both the city council and the RAMS board operate under the Minnesota public meeting law, the meetings were posted as required which resulted in a bit of a circus with a throng of "We support mining" supporters along with "BWCA Supporters and No Copper/Nickel mining advocates" competing for space in the small board room at the IRRRB. Maximum capacity in the room is listed as 48, and nearly 120 people signed in at the desk at the IRRRB. The overflow crowd had to watch from a lobby area on ITV.

Governor Dayton opened the meeting with the Ely city council with a 15 minute monologe on why he cannot support Twin Metals. From protecting the "icon" that is the BWCA, to protecting the senior citizens of Ely from the traffic congestion, noise and dust associated with mining and construction, to his concern over a foreign employer ownership group promising jobs and not caring about the impact of their operation in this pristine area of the world, the Governor summed it up as "fanciful and farcical".

Representatives from RAMS made impassioned statements to the Governor including Mayor, Mike Jugovich from Chisholm who expressed his frustration as a father who will likely see his daughter graduate from Vermillion Community College this spring and have to relocate off the Range to find gainful employment. Pat Medure, school board director from the Grand Rapids/Bigfork district reminded the Governor of the inherent responsibility the DNR has to manage the permanent school trust fund lands for "long term economic benefit" and that projections for mining of precious minerals is anticipated to return $2.5 billion dollars in 10 years of mining into that fund.

I myself questioned the Governor on the impact his statements and position on not allowing access agreements on state land leases was reverberating across the business world and causing companies to reconsider projects in Minnesota. Furthermore the Governor's position on this project does little to help with the ongoing efforts of RAMS and the IRRRB with the "Recharge the Range" economic diversity campaign. If we cannot utilize the mineral wealth of this region what will the Governor do to enable this region to grow?

The Governor did not respond directly to any of the questions posed to him. In closing he stated that he cannot kill the Twin Metals project and that the Federal Bureau of Land Management was in a better position to quickly determine the viability of the project. While those of us in attendance were confused by those statements we left the meeting with the consolation prize of knowing that we took a position on an issue that is critically important to our region and the Governor heard us and agreed to meet and discuss that with us. For that we are grateful and it reminds me that "One Range - One Voice" is still the best way to get our message heard.

To learn more about membership