U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, who lost his reelection bid this month, is the longest serving member of Congress in Minnesota history. The Democratic congressman has represented Minnesota's 8th District for 36 years. Here are some highlights of his career.
Sept. 10, 1934: Oberstar is born in Chisholm, Minn.
1952: Oberstar graduates from Chisholm High School.
1956: Oberstar earns a bachelor's degree in French and political science from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.
1957: Oberstar earns a master's degree from the Program of European Studies at the College of Europe in Belgium.
1959-1962: Oberstar moves to Haiti and teaches English to students at the Haitian Military Academy.
1963-1974: Oberstar moves back to the United States, and begins working for U.S. Rep. John Blatnik, the DFL congressman who represented Minnesota's 8th District at the time. Blatnik, a champion of public works projects, won the seat in 1946 and was reelected 13 times.
1970: Blatnik becomes chairman of the House Public Works Committee and asks Oberstar to serve as the administrator of the committee, which is now known as the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
1974: Blatnik announces his retirement from Congress and endorses Oberstar as his successor. Oberstar loses the DFL endorsement for the seat to state Sen. Tony Perpich, but still easily wins the primary. Oberstar wins the general election with 62 percent of the vote.
Jan. 3, 1975: Oberstar takes office as the U.S. representative for the 8th District. Congressional leaders grant Oberstar a seat on the House Public Works Committee during his first term, effectively passing the baton from Blatnik to the new congressman.
1977: Oberstar attracts opposition from many conservationists for his vocal stance on how the government should classify and regulate the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Oberstar had proposed a bill that would have created two zones within the BWCA -- one with full wilderness protection and the other where logging, boats and other motor recreation would be allowed. Congress passed a compromise bill in 1978 that prohibited logging, and restricted motorized boats to certain lakes.
1984: Oberstar runs for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Sen. Rudy Boschwitz. Oberstar loses his primary bid, and Boschwitz later wins re-election.
1985: Oberstar criticizes the Federal Aviation Administration in the wake of several deadly airplane crashes. Oberstar argues that the FAA failed to hire and adequately train air traffic controllers. The controllers, he said, "are working excessive overtime, six-day work weeks with inadequate leave policies, poor supervision, and they are beginning to show cracks in the system."
1986: Oberstar compares the nation's air traffic control system to "a time bomb ticking away," and said that the FAA needs to tighten safety measures.
1989-1995: Oberstar chairs the aviation subcommittee of the transportation committee.
1991: Oberstar backs the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. The law authorizes $734 million in federal funding for bike lanes, sidewalks, and other bicycle and pedestrian facilities over six years. It also requires that states and municipalities develop plans for bicycle transportation and pedestrian walkways, and incorporate them into overall transportation planning. Oberstar successfully pushes for the funding of a "Rails to Trails" provision in the legislation to convert abandoned railroad beds to bike trails.
1998: Oberstar secures additional funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. The law allows bicycle projects to receive funding under the Scenic Byways program and allows bicycles on interstate highways.
2005: Oberstar co-sponsors and helps pass the largest surface transportation funding bill in the nation's history. The law authorizes $286 billion over six years to fund highways, highway safety, public transportation, and other projects. Oberstar secures funding to construct the Paul Bunyan State Trail from Walker to Bemidji and other bike trails throughout the 8th District.
He also successfully pushes for the inclusion of $100 million for the Twin Cities and three other areas to fund pilot projects to increase walking and bicycling. In Minneapolis, the bill funded innovative roadways for bicyclists and walkers, bicycle sharing programs, and other pedestrian-friendly initiatives. Oberstar also secured funding for a national Safe Routes to School program to make it safer and easier for children to walk or bike to school.
2007: Oberstar becomes chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
August 2007: Within days of the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, Oberstar pushes through emergency legislation that pledged $250 million for a replacement bridge.
2009: Oberstar proposes a six-year $450 billion federal transportation bill. The bill would provide more funding and support for bicycle and pedestrian-friendly projects. Oberstar urges Congress to take up the bill right away, but the Obama administration decides to prioritize other legislation. Over Oberstar's vocal objections, Obama instead decides to extend temporary funding for existing programs. Oberstar's bill remains stalled in the House.
Nov. 2, 2010: Oberstar loses his bid for a 19th term. Republican challenger Chip Cravaack defeats Oberstar by 4,407 votes.