Sunday, May 4, 2014

Minnesota (?) Politico Jim Oberstar Passes Away

Jim Oberstar, who represented the northeastern Minnesota Iron Range area in the US Congress for 36 years died in his sleep at age 79 on the morning of May 3, according to this obit and this WaPo piece.

Oberstar was an expert on transportation issues and an effective user of the "earmark" process in arranging projects like highway and airport construction in his district.

Interestingly, while stressing Oberstar's commitment to his rural roots, the tribute mentions that he died at his home, in Potomac, Maryland. Also mentioned is that he spent the previous evening at a drama event that included one of his grandchildren, who also live in the Washington area. Here we see another example of professional politicians that are elected in the hinterlands, take up residency in D.C. and then become permanent fixtures inside the beltway, returning home only to campaign for office. More proof, if any is needed, that using the District as a meeting place for Congress is an idea that has long outlived its necessity, usefulness or legitimacy. 

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