Hours before Senator Al Franken was to address the convention of Minnesota Congressional District Three Democrats at Maple Grove Junior High School, he learned that his adviser and friend, former Congressman Jim Oberstar had died at home in Maryland, peacefully in his sleep. Saturday May 3rd was to have been just a rip-roaring, lets-get ’em fired-up for the coming election rally and endorsement fete. With the endorsement of Sharon Sund to dethrone Eric Paulson, it certainly was that. The convention also became a venue of tribute to and affection for one of the most effective, citizen-centered politicians to ever come from Minnesota and to ever sit in The House. Jim Oberstar from Chisholm had served 17 successive terms in Congress and was one of the world’s foremost authorities on transportation.
Legendary columnist and sports writer Jim Klobuchar (also from The Range) shared his thoughts and read a letter to the gathered about Jim Oberstar sent by his U.S. Senator daughter, Amy. Southwest suburban DFL leader Steve Kelley and others payed their respects. When Al and Frannie Franken entered the auditorium, the cheers and applause swelled, tapering off a full minute later. The junior senator from Minnesota, searched for words and then, after a pause, found them. This video will appear on the next cable cast version of Democratic Visions in a few weeks.