James Oberstar

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U.S. Representative

James Oberstar ()
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Leadership: No leadership position
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

Congressional scorecards

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Organization 2007 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
2008 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
American Civil Liberties Union not avail. not avail.
American Conservative Union not avail. not avail.
AFSCME not avail. not avail.
Americans for Democratic Action not avail. not avail.
Club for Growth not avail. not avail.
Drum Major Institute not avail. not avail.
Family Research Council not avail. not avail.
Information Technology Industry Council not avail. not avail.
League of Conservation Voters not avail. not avail.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People not avail. not avail.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce not avail. not avail.

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.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on 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.[2]

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.[3]

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.

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

Committees and Affiliations


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)

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

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


DC office
  • 1013 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
    Ph: 202-225-2523 Fax: 202-225-3404
    Webform email
District offices
  • Brainerd City Hall, 501 Laurel Street, Brainerd, MN 56401-3525
    Ph: 218-828-4400 Fax: (none entered)
  • Chisholm City Hall, 316 Lake Street, Chisholm, MN 55719
    Ph: 218-254-5761 Fax: (none entered)
  • Duluth Federal Building, Room 231, Duluth, MN 55802
    Ph: 218-727-7474, 218-727-7474 Fax: (none entered)
  • 38625 14th Avenue, Suite 300B, North Branch, MN 55056
    Ph: 651-277-1234 Fax: (none entered)
On the Web
Campaign office
  • No campaign website entered.
  • No campaign webform email entered.
  • No campaign office information entered.

Articles and Resources

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Semantic data (Edit data)