Airline Industry Mourns Death of Congressman Jim Oberstar

Lawmaker Was Expert on Aviation Safety

By Paul Riegler on 4 May 2014
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The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

James L. Oberstar, who served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for his entire 36 years in the House of Representatives, died May 3 at his home in Potomac, Maryland. He was 79.

Oberstar was considered by many to be an expert on aviation and aviation safety and served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for his entire term in Congress.  Prior to being elected to Congress, he served as staff administrator to the committee, which was then known as the Public Works Committee.

“Jim was a wise and trusted friend for more than 25 years. He understood our nation’s need for strong and sustainable infrastructure, and his unique expertise in aviation left an indelible mark on the airline industry,” said Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines.

“Congressman Jim Oberstar was a leader when it came to transportation,” said Jeff Smisek, United Airlines’ CEO. “He spent his entire career dedicated to strengthening our nation’s transportation systems and basic infrastructure. His was a trusted voice when it came to aviation. He advocated for the United States aviation industry, its employees, its customers and its airports around the world.”

Representative Oberstar served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 2011 as a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party representing Minnesota’s 8th congressional district.  He served as the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2007 to 2011 and was the ranking minority memory prior to that.

“As a longtime chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Jim Oberstar understood well the value of air travel to jobs, the economy and connecting people and goods across the country and the world,” said Nicholas E. Calico, president of Airlines for America, an industry trade group.

“Jim Oberstar knew everything there was to know about our nation’s infrastructure, and fought tirelessly to rebuild and renew it,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The family issued a statement Sunday saying that the cause of death was not known.



(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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