WASHINGTON, D.C. — Reuters
reported that Jim Oberstar
, former chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who represented northeastern Minnesota for 36 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, died on Saturday at age 79. Oberstar
helped pass key federal legislation
, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
A statement released by a spokesman for the family said that the former Congressman died unexpectedly in his sleep and is survived by his wife, Jean, and six children, according to Reuters
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Transportation Secretary Anthony R. Foxx released the following statement about Oberstar’s passing:
"Chairman Jim Oberstar's passion for sound transportation policy spanned decades, first as a staff person and eventually as Chairman of the Congressional Committee that writes and oversees our federal transportation laws.
He was a tireless advocate for safety, consumer protections, and robust federal investment so that the American public could continue to enjoy the best transportation system in the world.
His personal imprint on our national transportation policies across all modes cannot be overstated. His principles and his legislative accomplishments continue to guide the work of the U.S. Department of Transportation each and every day."U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster
(R-PA), Chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, also released a statement:
“Congress, Minnesota, and the nation have lost a good man who dedicated his life to public service and our country’s transportation system. Jim Oberstar was respected and admired for his tireless advocacy for strengthening our infrastructure, first as a staffer, then as a member, and finally as the Chairman of this Committee.
I believe transportation was truly in his blood, and few possessed his breadth of knowledge and passion for these issues he understood to be so important to America. I will miss my good friend, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family.”