Wednesday, February 20, 2013 By Aaron Brown
Oberstar was a leading transportation expert in the Congress and former chair of the House Transportation Committee before his loss to Republican Chip Cravaack in 2010. Last year, Cravaack lost to current Rep. Rick Nolan, who is among the signers of the letter. Oberstar's name was floated in late January.
Nolan's office released the letter today as the president is apparently making a decision soon on who will replace outgoing Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.
Text of the letter is below the jump:
Text of the letter sent earlier this month.
February 8, 2013
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
We write today to respectfully urge you to appoint Congressman Jim Oberstar, our friend, colleague and fellow Minnesotan, to serve as U.S. Secretary of Transportation in your second Administration.
Here in Congress and throughout our nation, 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 bipartisan respect and affection he earned over 18 terms of service was clearly evident on Swearing In Day, January 3rd, when he stepped onto the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to a spontaneous outburst of applause and a standing ovation. Members old and new were acknowledging a record of accomplishment that in our collective judgment make him the clear choice to serve America as Secretary of Transportation. For example:
As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation from 1989-1995, Jim presided over passage of critical legislation to make aircraft safer, modernize airports and bolster America’s air traffic control system.
As Ranking Democrat on the full Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he brought both sides of the aisle together to enact legislation to assure the Highway Trust Fund remains true to its intended use – fixing roads and bridges – and no other.
During Jim’s tenure as Chairman of the full Committee from 2007-2010, nearly 200 bills passed out of that body were approved by the House and Senate and signed into law by the President.
Moreover, as part of the Committee’s charge to oversee public buildings, Jim Oberstar helped cut the U.S. government’s electric bill by more than $500 million annually through the introduction of ‘green’ technologies to federal civilian office facilities around the nation.
Once again, Mr. President, we believe Jim Oberstar’s unmatched expertise, his proven record of getting things done, and his practical, bipartisan approach to public policy, along with his indefatigable energy and love for pubic service, make him the clear choice for U.S. Secretary of Transportation. We hope you will agree, and we ask you to give him every consideration.
Senator Amy Klobuchar
Senator Al Franken
Congressman Tim Walz
Congressman Keith Ellison
Congresswoman Betty McCollum
Congressman Collin Peterson
Congressman Rick Nolan