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Oberstar to find new role with Humphrey Institute

U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, DFL-8th District, receives thanks from colleagues after holding his last hearing Thursday as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Oberstar, afrter serving 36 years, was defeated in the Nov. 2 election. U.S. House Photo/ John Schadl

DULUTH -- Outgoing U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar has agreed to play some role with the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute.

Lee Munnich, director of the Humphrey Institute's State and Local Policy Program, confirmed Thursday that they are exploring options with Oberstar including some role as a visiting scholar, lecturer or author.

"It's definitely not a full-time thing. It's not like he's coming in as a professor, but he's very interested in some role," Munnich said. "He has this rich history in transportation and we wanted to tap into that."

The 36-year veteran of Congress, who was defeated Nov. 2 by Republican newcomer Chip Cravaack, has said since the election that he wanted to be part of public policy, especially transportation policy, after leaving office in January and that he would not become a lobbyist.

The new gig was revealed Thursday at about the same time Oberstar was in Washington presiding over a meeting of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for the last time.

Munnich said Oberstar has been involved with the Institute and the University's Center for Transportation Studies in the past in his long role as a transportation expert in Congress.

A formal announcement is expected in several weeks.

John Myers is a staff writer for the Duluth News Tribune, which is owned by Forum Communications Co., which also owns the Bemidji Pioneer.