ST. PAUL, Minn., May 3 (UPI) -- The Minnesota state delegation has confirmed that former Congressman Jim Oberstar has died. He was 79. According to a statement from his family, Oberstar died in his sleep.
First elected in the post-Watergate Democratic wave of 1974, Oberstar represented Minnesota's Eighth Congressional district for 18 terms. While in congress, Oberstar served as chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, a role that would define his legacy in Minnesota and on Capitol Hill.
"Every miner should remember his work to keep the mines open and make them safer," said Minnesota senior Amy Klobuchar in a statement. "Every American who bikes the Minnesota bike trails, hikes the Lake Superior trail, and drives our national highways and bridges should remember Jim today."
St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman echoed this sentiment in his own statement, saying, "As we prepare for our Twin Cities to be connected for the first time by light rail transit when the Green Line opens next month, it is a shame that our greatest champion for transit won't be there to celebrate with us."
Oberstar's family has not released his cause of death. He is survived by his wife, Jean, six children and eight grandchildren.