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James Oberstar ()
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|Committees:||House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure|
|(subcommittees and past assignments)|
| Next election: Nov. 6, 2012
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[[Category:Members of the U.S. House of Representatives|]]
James Louis Oberstar has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1975, representing the 8th District of Minnesota. The district is based in Duluth and includes most of the northeastern part of the state.
Record and controversies
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National security and foreign policy
Oberstar voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.
Energy and environment
For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Money in politics
This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. For specific controversies, see this article's record and controversies section.
Campaign contribution data could not be found.
|Links to more campaign contribution information for James Oberstar
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
|Fundraising profile:||2008 election cycle||Career totals|
|Top contributors by organization/corporation:||2008 election cycle||Career totals|
|Top contributors by industry:||2008 election cycle||Career totals|
- Revolving door profile for James Oberstar from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org website.
- 2006 privately funded travel profile for James Oberstar from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org website.
- Personal finance profile for James Oberstar from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org website.
Committees and Affiliations
- House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committees in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)
- 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)
- House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure - Ranking Minority Member
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.
More Background Data
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Articles and Resources
Local blogs and discussion sites
Semantic data ()
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|Current Office: U.S. House of Representatives|
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|U.S. House of Representatives|
Ranking Member On:
Ranking Member On:
|First Elected to Current Office:
November 5, 1974
|First Took Current Office:
January 3, 1975
November 2, 2010
|Previous Political Work?
None or Not Available
|Other Party Membership:|
Date of Birth: September 10, 1934
November 5, 1974