Minn. Delegation Pushes Oberstar for Transportation Sec.
Posted at: 02/20/2013 12:28 PM
| Updated at: 02/20/2013 11:05 PM
By: Laurie Stribling
Democratic members of Minnesota's Congressional delegation are asking President Barack Obama to appoint former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar as Transportation Secretary.
The letter was delivered to the White House last week. It states, "Jim Oberstar is recognized as a preeminent leader whose understanding of the complex and challenging transportation, infrastructure and aviation issues we face is simply unmatched."
The letter was signed by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Representaives Tim Walz, Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Collin Peterson, and Rick Nolan. That support was appreciated by Oberstar who said he would accept the position if offered.
"That is wonderful," Oberstar said. "I am very deeply indebted to my colleagues in the Minnesota delegation for their trust, their confidence and their support."
Oberstar represented northeastern Minnesota in the U.S. House from 1975 to 2011. He served as chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation from 1989 to 1995 and chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2007 to 2010.
"Most of my career in public service has been a training and preparation for Secretary of Transportation," Oberstar said. "I have a very good sense of how the department should work and some understanding of why it doesn't work at times."
At 78 years old, Oberstar said his age will not prevent him from doing the job.
"Anybody who wants to raise that issue should get on their bike and follow me for 40 miles," Oberstar said.
Current Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the only Republican still left in President Obama's first-term Cabinet, announced plans to leave the Obama administration last month. He is remaining with the department until his successor is confirmed.
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