France Awards Rep. Oberstar National Order of Merit
On June 19, François Delattre, Ambassador of France to the United States, bestowed the insignia of Commander in the National Order of Merit upon former U.S. Representative James Oberstar. (read the Ambassador’s speech)
Based on a decision by the French President, this appointment illustrates France’s profound gratitude for Rep. Oberstar’s exemplary commitment to French-American relations, and acknowledges in particular his role in establishing the Congressional French Caucus.
- Former U.S. Representative James Oberstar.
The caucus, created in 2003, is a bipartisan group composed of 109 members from both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, which seeks to “promote partnership and cooperation, enhance U.S.-French relations in all fields, and facilitate a better understanding of the essential relationship between the two countries,” according to an official statement from the group.
In his remarks prior to bestowing the award, Amb. Delattre described Rep. Oberstar as “a very close friend of his country” and “instrumental in furthering the excellent cooperation between the United States and France.” He also complimented Rep. Oberstar on what he called his “perfect French.”
- Ambassador François Delattre congratulates Rep. James Oberstar
Rep. Oberstar found receiving the honor "deeply moving." He described the award as "emblematic of the indelible relationship between our two peoples, and of the ideals that link us."
Rep. Oberstar’s involvement in the caucus, now in its tenth year of operation, spans the tenures of three French ambassadors to the U.S. “The pioneering work of Amb. Jean-David Lévitte was nurtured by Amb. Pierre Vimont, and now is being inspired, strengthened, and extended by the very urbane, open, and warm-hearted Ambassador Francois Delattre,” Rep. Oberstar said.
He credits the group’s success to “the bipartisanship that only a non-legislative caucus could establish.”
- The insignia of Commander in the National Order of Merit