Updated: 06/26/2014 8:53 PM
Created: 06/26/2014 8:42 PM WDIO.com
By: Briggs LeSavage
About 100 people came to honor the late Congressman Jim Oberstar at the first of three memorial services scheduled in his honor this week.
Thursday’s ceremony at the University of Minnesota Cowles Auditorium featured eight speakers paying tribute to Oberstar and all he accomplished during his 36 years as the state’s 8th District representative.
Former Vice President Walter Mondale said it was Oberstar, Minnesota’s longest serving congressman, who turned his district into a stalwart area.
“Jim, over the years, turned the 8th District into the powerful, progressive force it became,” Mondale said.
Oberstar was the man behind million of dollars in federal funding for Minnesota and supported mining and labor causes meaningful to his district. He was elected to Congress in 1974 and served until 2011. For his final four years in Congress, he served as the House Transportation Committee chairman, but his daughter, Monica Oberstar-Weber, said it was his family-first attitude and public service that meant the most.
“He really loved talking with people and building that community sort of across his district but then in the broader scope around the world as well,” Oberstar-Weber said.
“This is a remarkable state. There’s no question about it, and no one had more to do with realizing that dream that Jim Oberstar,” Mondale said.
There are two more memorial services scheduled for Oberstar. On Friday, he will be honored at 1 p.m. at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center and again a few hours later at 6 p.m. in Chisholm, Minn.—the congressman’s hometown.
“It’s really very touching to see all the people who he touched and the way people have responded, “ Link-Oberstar said.
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