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Coleman and Klobuchar Seek $250 Million for I-35 Bridge Reconstruction

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Minnesota Senators Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar spearheaded federal legislation on Thursday to not only provide funds to rebuild the I-35 bridge, but also improve infrastructure problems nationwide.

The Senators first called on the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) to immediately release emergency relief funding for the I-35W bridge disaster. However, because states are eligible to receive up to only $100 million in emergency funds each year, Coleman and Klobuchar introduced a bill in the Senate to authorize $250 million for the reconstruction of the I-35W bridge. DFL Representative Jim Oberstar (MN-08) introduced an identical bill in the House of Representatives on Thursday as well.

Coleman and Klobuchar's call for a National Commission on Infrastructure was approved by the Senate in legislation that was created to: "Address the deterioration of much of our nation's infrastructure including our roads, bridges, drinking water systems, dams and other public works. The bill would create a National Commission on Infrastructure of the United States to analyze our nation's infrastructure and report recommendations to Congress. This group would also be charged with aiding in the nation's economic growth and ensuring the ability of the nation's infrastructure to meet current and future demands."

The Commission would be required to complete its report to Congress by February 2009, at which point a plan would be in place to decide what infrastructure legislation would be necessary for the next five, 15, 30 and 50 years.

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Remains of the Data

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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