Jim Oberstar

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jim Oberstar previously served the 8th Congressional district of Minnesota

James Louis Oberstar, a Democrat, is a former U.S. Representative for the 8th Congressional District of Minnesota, having served 1997 to 2011. The 8th district is based in Duluth and includes most of the northeastern part of the state.[1]

Record and controversies

General information about important bills and votes for can be found in Congresspedia's articles on legislation. You can add information you find on how Jim Oberstar voted by clicking the "[edit]" link to the right and typing it in. Remember to cite your sources!

National security and foreign policy

Iraq War

Oberstar voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[2]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Clean Water Restoration Act

On May 22, 2007, Oberstar introduced the Clean Water Restoration Act of 2007, introduced during the 110th Congress, which sought to clarify the jurisdiction of the U.S. government over waters located in the country, largely for the purpose of dealing with water pollution.

Main article: Clean Water Restoration Act of 2007

Water Resources Development Act

On April 19, 2007, the House considered the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, which was sponsored by Oberstar. The bill would authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States.[3]

Main article: U.S. congressional actions to conserve and develop water resources#Water Resources Development Act of 2007

State water pollution funding

On January 30, 2007, Oberstar introduced a bill to amend the Clean Water Act to authorize appropriations to states for dealing with water pollution. The bill would effectively raise grant funds to $300 million for management assistance. Assistance grants would also be authorized to nonprofit organizations for the purpose of providing assistance to rural and small municipalities in planning, developing and acquiring financing for wastewater management infrastructure.[4]

On March 9, 2007, the House voted on a measure to provide consideration of the bill. It passed 229-179.

Main article: U.S. water management legislation#H.R.720 - To amend the Clean Water Act to authorize appropriations for state water pollution



Oberstar was born September 10, 1934 in Chisholm, where he still lives today. He received his B.A. at the College of St. Thomas (now the University of St. Thomas) in St. Paul. He also received a Master's degree in European Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, with further study at Laval University in Sainte-Foy, Quebec, Canada and Georgetown University. He spent four years as a civilian language teacher in the United States Marine Corps, teaching English to Haitian military personnel and French to American Marine officers and noncommissioned officers.

Congressional career

Oberstar served as chief staff assistant to 8th District Congressman John Blatnik for 12 years. When Blatnik didn't run for reelection in 1974, he endorsed Oberstar as his successor. Oberstar won handily in November and has been reelected 15 times without serious difficulty. Although the 8th is not considered safe for either party, the Democrats--in the persons of Blatnik and Oberstar--have held the seat since 1947. His lowest winning percentage was 59 percent in 1992, but since then has not earned less than 65 percent of the vote. He was elected to his 16th term in 2004, making him the longest serving member of either house of Congress in Minnesota's history.

Positions and views

Oberstar is an internationally recognized expert on aviation and aviation safety. He has served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee since his first term, and is currently its ranking Democrat. Blatnik had chaired the committee during his last two terms in Congress (when it was known as the Public Works Committee), with Oberstar served as staff administrator. Oberstar was a member of the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism (PCAST) which was set up in September 1989 to review and report on aviation security policy in the light of the sabotage of Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988. An avid cyclist, Oberstar has been a champion of creating trails for cycling and hiking to promote healthy living and more active lifestyles. In 2005 he authored and had passed the Safe Routes to Schools act, a $200 million program that helps school districts address the growing problem of childhood obesity by building biking and walking paths to schools, hiring crossing guards and promoting safety programs.

Oberstar generally has a liberal voting record, but is pro-life on abortion and opposes gun control.

2006 elections

In 2006, Republicans nominated Rod Grams to face Oberstar in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [1] Oberstar retained his seat.

2010 elections

In 2010, Oberstar was defeated by Republican Chip Cravaack.[1]

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00001806&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Jim Oberstar
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
Fundraising profile: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2006 election cycle Career totals

Committees and affiliations


  • House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure - Chair
    • Subcommittee on Aviation -Ex Officio
    • Subcommittee on Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation -Ex Officio
    • Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management -Ex Officio
    • Subcommittee on Highways, Transit & Pipelines -Ex Officio
    • Subcommittee on Railroads -Ex Officio
    • Water Resources & Environment -Ex Officio

Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

Coalitions and caucuses

  • Bike Caucus
  • Caucus for Sustainable Development
  • Congressional Human Rights Caucus
  • Congressional Steel Caucus
  • Co-Chair, Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus
  • Democratic Homeland Security Task Force
  • Executive Committee, Democratic Study Group
  • Co-Chair, Great Lakes Task Force
  • House Democratic At-Large Whip
  • International Relations Committee (On Leave)
  • Medical Technology Caucus
  • Mississippi River Caucus
  • Native American Caucus
  • Renewable Energy Caucus
  • Upper Mississippi Task Force

Boards and other affiliations

  • Board Member, Board of Trustees, Kennedy Center, 1995-present
  • Board Member, Mineta I.I.STPS Institute, San Jose State, 1995-present.

Wikipedia also has an article on Jim Oberstar. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 James L. Oberstar profile, The Washington Post, accessed January 2011.
  2. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  3. Robert McElroy, "Managing America: Environment and Resources," TheWeekInCongress, April 20, 2007.
  4. Robert McElroy, "Managing America: Environment & Resources," TheWeekInCongress.com, March 9, 2007.

Local blogs and discussion sites