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Oberstar, Sailer rally voters in Park Rapids

U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar and State Rep. Brita Sailer (Dist. 2B) rallied Saturday morning to talk about changes that will be made if they are re-elected to office in November.

Sailer and Oberstar
Dist. 2B State Rep. Brita Sailer (right) and U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar talk with Patricia Clark of Park Rapids and 12-year-old Jayci McCrory of Bemidji at a rally Saturday in Park Rapids. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar and State Rep. Brita Sailer (Dist. 2B) rallied Saturday morning to talk about changes that will be made if they are re-elected to office in November.

The Democrats greeted constituents Saturday morning at Jackpine Java on Main Avenue in Park Rapids.

Sailer spoke briefly about changing health care to make it more affordable.

"Most people are most concerned about what they are going to do with health care," she said. "It's very important to me for farmers to be covered ... we're trying to expand the opportunity for coverage of Minnesota Care."

Hubbard County, Park Rapids and the entire area needs better jobs and expanding broadband Internet will help that, she said.

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The other big item to help with jobs and the environment is energy. Micro-energy loans can help people with their energy needs, she said.

Oberstar talked about transportation issues and the economy, stressing the need to keep roads safe and free of congestion.

"The cornerstone of all that we do is mobility," he said.

Oberstar is the chair of the federal House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and wants to ensure that roads continue to be maintained and are safe.

Since 2001, productivity has been dropping and "congestion is stalking the land and choking our cities," Oberstar said.

"We have to improve productivity, take it to our state, do a study of congestion," he said.

Oberstar wants to have an emphasis on rural roads and double the funding to create safe roads. He also wants to improve rural transit systems so people can stay in their homes, he said.

Oberstar wants to create a new future for Amtrak as well, so people can commute faster. He hopes that there will be high-speed passenger rail between Duluth, the Twin Cities, Chicago and Rochester.

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Years ago, Oberstar said he conducted hearings on the importance of bridge inspections but nothing was done at the time. Then, the I-94 bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, he added.

"We need to make sure this type of thing doesn't happen again," he said.

The economy is also an issue that will be a priority in the next few years. Small businesses can't afford to borrow money to buy inventory, he said. "Jobs are falling away.

"Let's put this country back on the right track and moving forward," he said.

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