Jim Oberstar | Former Minn. congressman, 79
Mr. Oberstar, a Democrat, was elected to Congress in 1974 and served 18 terms to become the state's longest-serving member. He became chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in 2006. He was a champion of transportation safety and infrastructure improvements and supported the concept of intermodality - connecting highways, subways, city buses, intercity rail, and bike paths.
He also brought jobs to his district, noting that the economic stimulus brought $212 million to St. Louis County and increased demand for iron ore from the Iron Range's taconite mines.
In 2010, he narrowly lost to Chip Cravaack as part of a Republican takeover of the House. After that defeat, Mr. Oberstar said: "I go with peace of mind and heart, but with sadness. . . . I loved the opportunity to serve the people of this district." - AP