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Rep. James Oberstar

Former Representative for Minnesota’s 8th District

Oberstar was the representative for Minnesota’s 8th congressional district and was a Democrat. He served from 1975 to 2010.

Photo of Rep. James Oberstar [D-MN8, 1975-2010]


Ideology–Leadership Chart

Oberstar is shown as a purple triangle in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot was a member of the House of Representatives in 2010 positioned according to our ideology score (left to right) and our leadership score (leaders are toward the top).

The chart is based on the bills Oberstar sponsored and cosponsored from Jan 4, 2005 to Dec 21, 2010. See full analysis methodology.

Enacted Legislation

Oberstar was the primary sponsor of 50 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:

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Does 50 not sound like a lot? Very few bills are ever enacted — most legislators sponsor only a handful that are signed into law. But there are other legislative activities that we don’t track that are also important, including offering amendments, committee work and oversight of the other branches, and constituent services.

We consider a bill enacted if one of the following is true: a) it is enacted itself, b) it has a companion bill in the other chamber (as identified by Congress) which was enacted, or c) if at least about half of its provisions were incorporated into bills that were enacted (as determined by an automated text analysis, applicable beginning with bills in the 110th Congress).

Bills Sponsored

Issue Areas

Oberstar sponsored bills primarily in these issue areas:

Transportation and Public Works (25%) Government Operations and Politics (15%) Economics and Public Finance (12%) Environmental Protection (12%) Science, Technology, Communications (10%) Law (10%) Emergency Management (9%) Commerce (8%)

Recently Introduced Bills

Oberstar recently introduced the following legislation:

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Most legislation has no activity after being introduced.

Voting Record

Key Votes

Missed Votes

From Jan 1975 to Dec 2010, Oberstar missed 804 of 21,297 roll call votes, which is 3.8%. This is on par with the median of 3.1% among the lifetime records of representatives serving in Dec 2010. The chart below reports missed votes over time.

We don’t track why legislators miss votes, but it’s often due to medical absenses, major life events, and running for higher office.

Show the numbers...

Primary Sources

The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including: