abc
QUICK LINKS:

Statements on Jim Oberstar Death

Created: 05/04/2014 9:42 PM KSTP.com
By: Nick Tabbert

Former eighth District Congressman Jim Oberstar passed away in his sleep Saturday morning. Oberstar, Minnesota’s longest serving Congressman was 79.

The Oberstar family released this statement Saturday morning:

“We are heartbroken to share the news that Jim Oberstar has passed way.   Jim was a loving husband, father, grandfather, friend and brother.  While we mourn the loss of a good man, we also celebrate his life and his service.  We ask for your thoughts and prayers, and understanding, at this very difficult time.”

Statement by President Barack Obama on the Passing of Jim Oberstar:

"Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Congressman Jim Oberstar. Jim cared deeply about the people of Minnesota, devoting his 36 years of service to improving America's infrastructure, creating opportunity for hardworking Minnesotans, and building a strong economy for future generations of Americans.  Jim will be deeply missed and Michelle and I send our condolences to his wife Jean, his children, and grandchildren."

Governor Mark Dayton released the following statement:

“Congressman Oberstar was a true champion for the people of the 8th District, and for our entire state. He worked tirelessly to bring jobs, economic growth, and a better quality of life to his constituents. I extend my deepest condolences to his wife Jean, and his family.”

Representative Tim Walz (MN-01) released the following statement:

“I’m deeply saddened to learn of Jim’s passing. A titan of the Transportation Committee, Jim put people before politics and always fought tooth and nail for his constituents. He was the true definition of a public servant and someone I was proud to call a mentor and friend. While Jim may have passed, the legacy he left behind will live on for generations to come.

“My wife Gwen and I extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Jean, their children, and grandchildren. He will be deeply missed.”

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar released the following statement:

“Jim Oberstar was a mentor and a friend and a man of true purpose and grit. His purpose? To make life better for the people of northern Minnesota and our world. His method? Knowing all the facts and never giving up just like the people he represented.

“His life journey took him from the hard scrabble mines of northern Minnesota to the chairmanship of one of the most powerful committees in Congress.  He traveled the country and the world helping people, sharing knowledge and always speaking his mind, sometimes in French.

“Every miner should remember his work to keep the mines open and make them safer.  Every American who bikes the Minnesota bike trails, hikes the Lake Superior trail, and drives our national highways and bridges should remember Jim today.  He was a treasure trove of facts and figures for every member of Congress.

“To the end he loved Jean and his family, his Slovenian heritage, his long bike rides, and anything and everything about transportation policy.  We will miss him dearly.”

Sen. Franken's Statement on the Death of Former Congressman Jim Oberstar:

"Minnesota and our nation lost a true giant last night. Jim Oberstar served the Eighth District virtually his entire adult life, but his work went well beyond his Congressional District, and the people of Minnesota and the entire country are better off for his service.

"By the time Jim rose to Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, he knew more about transportation than anyone in this country. The first time I saw Jim in action as Chairman, he was presiding over a hearing on high speed rail with witnesses from Japan and France, and several other countries, all of which -- to our shame -- are far ahead of us in high speed rail.

"When it came time for the Chairman to ask his questions, I learned that Jim had piloted every one of these high speed trains, and Jim questioned the French witness in his own language in startlingly fluent French. It was a tour de force. I think that’s French.

"If Jim were asked to write this himself, he'd somehow segue to the history of infrastructure in this country, from the Erie Canal to rural broadband, then circle back to the Roman aqueducts and the use of slaves to build them and then move into a history of the labor movement, of which he was a fierce champion.

"Franni and I will miss Jim. We know all of you will as well. And we all are better people for having known him. And the Eighth District is a much, much better place for his service."

Statement from Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon on the news that Congressman Jim Oberstar passed away:

“Congressman Oberstar was a tremendous servant and advocate for Northeastern Minnesota, and for Minnesotans statewide. He was committed to safe transportation, public access to Minnesota’s beautiful parks and trails, and to bringing jobs to the people of Minnesota’s 8th district. My thoughts today are with Congressman Oberstar’s wife Jean, his children, and his grandchildren.”

Speaker Paul Thissen released the following statement on the passing of Congressman Jim Oberstar:

“I am saddened to learn of the passing of Congressman Jim Oberstar, a true leader and public servant for the people of Minnesota.

Congressman Oberstar brought passion to public service and defined what it means to leave things better off for the next generation – especially our transportation system. He loved his work, his state and the people he represented and Minnesotans will miss him greatly.”

Congresswoman Betty McCollum issued the following statement mourning the death of Oberstar:

“I am deeply saddened by Jim’s passing. Jim Oberstar was a friend, a mentor, and a public servant of epic stature. Throughout his career Jim’s commitment to improving America’s transportation system saved thousands of lives, kept millions of Americans on the job, and strengthened Minnesota’s and our nation’s economy.  Most of all, Jim Oberstar was a truly wonderful man who was filled with joy and compassion.”

“I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Jim’s wife, Jean, his children, grandchildren, and all of his former staff, especially Bill Richard, Congressman Oberstar’s long-time friend and chief of staff.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement:

“During his over thirty years of service to our state, Jim always put Minnesotans first. He was a public servant above all else. He had a gifted mind and an uncanny memory that helped him master a number of languages, including Haitian Creole. Jim’s passion for helping people get from one place to another safely was contagious and his vision for Minnesota’s future will live on as the projects he fought for as chairman of the Transportation Committee are completed.

“Jim was a great friend who helped me find my feet after I was elected in 2006. My deepest condolences to his family, his wife Jean, their children and grandchildren. His spirit, ideas and energy will be deeply missed.”

Representative Tim Walz (MN-01) released the following statement:

“I’m deeply saddened to learn of Jim’s passing. A titan of the Transportation Committee, Jim put people before politics and always fought tooth and nail for his constituents. He was the true definition of a public servant and someone I was proud to call a mentor and friend. While Jim may have passed, the legacy he left behind will live on for generations to come.

“My wife Gwen and I extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Jean, their children, and grandchildren. He will be deeply missed.”

Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03) released the following statement:

“For 36 years, Jim Oberstar diligently served the people of Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. Along with representing his constituents in the U.S. House of Representatives, Jim was a national leader and expert in the area of transportation safety—helping institute important measures that keep Americans safe. While we only served together in Congress for one term, Jim’s legacy will be felt by me and the rest of the Minnesota delegation for years to come. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Jean, and the rest of the Oberstar family at this time. He will be greatly missed.”

Minnesota Congressman John Kline issued the following statement:

"An Iron Ranger himself, Jim devoted much of his life to public service showing a great love for our state and country. For 36 years, he was a compassionate advocate for residents of northeastern Minnesota and I enjoyed serving with him in Congress while he was the dean of our delegation. Jim's wife, Jean, is in our prayers and Vicky and I extend our deepest sympathies to the entire Oberstar family."

Congressman Rick Nolan made the following statement on the passing of Congressman Jim Oberstar:

"Congressman Jim Oberstar’s passing over weekend marked a terribly sad day for all of us. Jim was a giant of a man who devoted himself to serving others – most especially as a voice and champion for the forgotten and left behind in our society.

"The respect and affection Jim Oberstar’s colleagues in the Congress had for him was simply unparalleled. I will never forget the day he returned to visit the House floor last year. When he was spied walking into that historic place, Democrats and Republicans alike stood up and cheered for a great bipartisan leader and friend.

"Over the course of his long and distinguished service, Jim became chairman of the House Transportation Committee. With expertise unmatched in all the intricacies of programs and policies affecting hundreds of billions of dollars for highways, roads, bridges, railroads, airports, harbors and public transit systems, he still rode his bicycle to work every day.

"And no one worked harder than Jim Oberstar. He was always the first person in the office every morning – and after everyone else had left in the evening, there would still be a light on in Jim’s office.

"Jim Oberstar was my friend, my mentor and my hero. Our nation is truly a better, more decent, more compassionate place for every day Jim served so selflessly, with such honor, dignity and good humor. We loved him dearly. We will miss him terribly. And we will do our best to carry on his great work.

"Our hearts go out to his wife, Jean, and all of Jim’s family."

Congressman Collin Peterson's statement on the passing of Congressman Oberstar:

"Our country and its infrastructure are a better place because of the work of Jim Oberstar. He was a brilliant man and a dedicated public servant," Peterson said.  "His work helped to create countless jobs and keep our nation's roads, bridges, airports, and trails safe. My deepest condolences go out to Jim's wife Jean, and his children and grandchildren."

Former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar.
Photo: Jim Oberstar/ Facebook

Minneapolis/St. Paul

Clear
28°
40° | 24°
  • Feels like: 17° F
  • Wind: N 15mph
  • Humidity: 61%
  • Sat More sun than clouds
    48° | 34°
  • Sun Partly cloudy
    56° | 45°
  • Mon Showers ending by midday
    57° | 37°
  • Tue More sun than clouds
    48° | 33°

Video

KSTP NEWS