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Continued: Jim Oberstar, Iron Range's longtime congressman, dies at 79

baird.helgeson@startribune.com• 651-925-5044







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  • FILE - In a Wednesday, April 23, 2008 file photo, House Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., presides at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, who served northeastern Minnesota for 36 years, died in his sleep Saturday, May 3, 2014, according to a statement from his family. He was 79. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File) ORG XMIT: MIN2014050315145417

  • Mn. Representative James Oberstar, left, talks with freelance reporter T.J. Western of the Twin Cities, in police custody i El Salvador. John McAward, at right, listens. Western was released from jail on Wednesday through Oberstar's and McAward's intervention. Photo by Lou Jones/Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Date taken 4/31/83 ORG XMIT: MIN2014050316005329

  • Lasting images: Avid cyclist Rep. James Oberstar rode around the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on his racing bike. At right, he was encouraged by election results at his campaign headquarters on Election Day in November 2010. His optimism wouldn’t last, however; he was upset by Republican Chip Cravaack and left office.

  • PLEASE CORRECT CAPTION TO SHOW DAVE BREWSTER/ STAR TRIBUNE MINNEAPOLIS NOT DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE. Democratic Rep. James Oberstar reacts to election results on the large screen TV at his election night headquarters Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010 at the Holiday Inn Duluth, Minnesota. (AP Photo/The Duluth News-Tribune, Dave Brewster) ORG XMIT: MIN2014050316022630

  • Oberstar through the years

    1934: James Louis Oberstar is born, the son of a miner in Chisholm, Minn.

    1956: Oberstar receives bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Thomas.

    1957: Oberstar receives master’s degree from the College of Europe in Belgium.

    1959-63: Oberstar works as a language instructor in Haiti.

    1963-74: Oberstar serves as chief assistant to Denocratic U.S. Rep. John Blatnik.

    1974: After the DFL convention, Oberstar challenges party-endorsed candidate Tony Perpich, younger brother of then-Lieutenant Governor Rudy Perpich, for the Eighth District U.S. House of Representatives seat, winning both the primary and the general election.

    1975: Oberstar begins the first of his 18 terms in the U.S. House, eventually becoming the state’s longest-serving congressman.

    1989: Oberstar is appointed chairman of the aviation subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, building his reputation as “Mr. Aviation” of Capitol Hill.

    1991: Oberstar’s first wife, Jo, mother of his four children, dies of breast cancer.

    1993: Oberstar marries Jean Kurth, an aviation consultant.

    2001: In the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, Oberstar pushes for a greater federal role in aviation safety and a $15 billion airline bailout.

    2005: Oberstar secures $50 million in federal funds to help finance the refurbishing of St. Paul’s Union Depot.

    2006: Oberstar defeats challenger Rod Grams, a former U.S. senator, and becomes chairman of the powerful House Transporation and Infrastructure Committee.

    2007: After the Interstate 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Oberstar ensures rapid passage of $250 million in federal funds to build a replacement.

    2010: In an upset, Oberstar is defeated by Republican Chip Cravaack, a former Northwest Airlines pilot.

    2014: Oberstar dies in his sleep in Potomac, Md., at age 79.

    KIM PALMER

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