The National Italian American Foundation Mourns The Passing of Former U.S. Representative Jim Oberstar


Contact: Elissa Ruffino (NIAF)202-939-3106 or


Attributed to NIAF Chairman Joseph V. Del Raso and NIAF President John M. Viola

“On behalf of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Board of Directors, we are deeply saddened by the passing of former U.S. Representative Jim Oberstar, a longstanding member of the Italian American Congressional Delegation and honorary Co-Chair for the Italian American Democratic Leadership Council. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Oberstar family.  Rep. Oberstar died in his sleep on May 3, 2014 at the age of 79. He was the longest-serving congressman from Minnesota.

“The son of an iron ore miner and a garment factory worker, Rep. Oberstar was extremely proud of his Italian ancestry.  He was fluent in the Italian language and was a strong supporter and friend to NIAF. He often joined his fellow members at our annual galas in Washington, D.C.

“The congressman served 36 years in the House and became its leading expert on transportation policy. He chaired the Transportation Committee; securing funding for public works projects that created job opportunities and improved the infrastructure across the country, especially in his home state of Minnesota.

“The NIAF Board of Directors and Foundation’s family mourn the loss of an inspiring leader.  His legacy will be long remembered and admired.”

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. Visit