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Oberstar tribute reaches president

The legislative move to rename the Chisholm Post Office in memory of former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar has reached the president's desk. Oberstar, who passed away last year, was born in Chisholm and represented the people of northern Minnesota for 36...

Rep. Jim Oberstar
Former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar

The legislative move to rename the Chisholm Post Office in memory of former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar has reached the president's desk.

Oberstar, who passed away last year, was born in Chisholm and represented the people of northern Minnesota for 36 years.

"Jim Oberstar was a man of purpose and grit who never stopped fighting for the people of northern Minnesota," U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said. "From supporting critical transportation projects throughout the state to strengthening the safety of miners on the Iron Range, Jim always remembered his roots. This action will help ensure his hometown post office stands as a tribute to all he did to make his district and our nation a better place."

U.S. Sens. Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, announced Tuesday that their bill to rename the Chisholm Post Office in memory of Oberstar has passed the House.

The legislation, which Klobuchar led and Franken cosponsored, has already passed the Senate, so it will now head to the president's desk to be signed into law.

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Lawmakers passed a bill last Congress to rename portions of Interstate 35 in memory of Oberstar, the former chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Urging passage of the post office measure, Nolan, who sponsored the House version of the Klobuchar bill, told colleagues on Monday: "Jim received more honors than he could count in life - and even more with his passing. But no honor would have meant more to him than being recognized by his colleagues in the town where he grew up.

"Chisholm - on Minnesota's Iron Range - is where Jim learned the value of ideas as a star on the high school debating team. Chisholm is also where he learned about public service with his first job - delivering newspapers to the miners and the mining families.

"Chisholm is where he learned about hard work from his parents. Jim's dad worked the mines his entire life - hardly ever missing a day.

"And Chisholm is the place where Jim learned those old-fashioned values he brought to Congress. Jim believed that a good idea is a good idea. It didn't matter whether it was a Democrat or a Republican who offered an amendment or proposed a piece of legislation. If it was good for the nation - it was good enough for Jim."

Some of Oberstar's notable accomplishments include:

- Chaired the Transportation Committee, during which the Committee held 317 hearings, producing 179 public laws and resolutions.

- Served as a member of the Transportation Committee for 36 years and prior to that, as a staff member for 12 years.

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- Coauthored the milestone Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, which authorized more than $280 billion dollars to modernize transportation infrastructure in the United States.

- Introduced the bill that provided emergency funding to replace the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis after its collapse in 2007.
- Advocated for improving aviation safety and served as chair of the Aviation Subcommittee.
- Secured funding for the Lakewalk in Duluth, new bridges along Interstate 35, a new airport terminal in Duluth, a customs and border control facility in International Falls, the Paul Bunyan Bike Trail that has seen 650,000 users, and the Gitchi-Gami State Trail along the North Shore.

- Advocated for bike safety measures and bike trails in transportation funding bills as early as the 1990s, including pioneering the federal Safe Routes to School Program, which improves safety on walking and bicycling routes to school and encourages children and families to travel between home and school using these modes.

- Supported the concept of "intermodality," which focuses on connecting highways, subways, city buses, intercity rail, and bike paths.

Related Topics: CHISHOLM
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