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Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar

Amy Jean Klobuchar (/ˈkloʊbəʃɑːr/; born May 25, 1960) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Minnesota. A member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, Minnesota's affiliate of the Democratic Party, she previously served as the Hennepin County Attorney.

Born in Plymouth, Minnesota, Klobuchar is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School. She was a partner at two Minneapolis law firms before being elected county attorney for Hennepin County in 1998, making her responsible for all criminal prosecution in Minnesota's most populous county. Klobuchar was first elected to the Senate in 2006, becoming Minnesota's first elected female United States Senator, and reelected in 2012 and 2018.[1] In 2009 and 2010 she was described as a "rising star" in the Democratic Party.[2][3] She is running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2020 election.

Amy Klobuchar
United States Senator
from Minnesota
Assumed office
January 3, 2007
Serving with Tina Smith
Preceded byMark Dayton
Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byChuck Schumer
County Attorney of Hennepin County
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2007
Preceded byMichael Freeman
Succeeded byMichael Freeman
Personal details
Amy Jean Klobuchar

(1960-05-25)May 25, 1960
Plymouth, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
John Bessler (m. 1993)
RelativesJim Klobuchar (Father)
EducationYale University (BA)
University of Chicago (JD)
Website2020 Presidential Campaign website [86]

Early life and education

Born in Plymouth, Minnesota, Klobuchar is the daughter of Rose (née Heuberger), who retired at age 70 from teaching second grade,[4] and Jim Klobuchar, an author and a retired sportswriter and columnist for the Star Tribune.[5] Klobuchar has one younger sister, Beth.[6] Her father is of Slovene descent; his grandparents were immigrants from Slovenia's White Carniola region, and his father was a miner on the Iron Range;[7][8] Klobuchar's maternal grandparents were from Switzerland.[9] Her parents divorced when Klobuchar was 15 years old and in high school. The divorce took a serious toll on the family and Amy's relationship with her father was not fully restored until he quit drinking in the 1990s.[10]

Klobuchar attended public schools in Plymouth and was valedictorian at Wayzata High School.[11][12] She received her B.A. degree magna cum laude in political science in 1982 from Yale University[13] During her time at Yale, Klobuchar spent time as an intern for then Vice President, and former Minnesota Senator, Walter Mondale.[6] Her senior thesis was Uncovering the Dome,[14] a 250-page history of the ten years of politics surrounding the building of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. After Yale, Klobuchar enrolled at the University of Chicago Law School, where she served as an associate editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and received her Juris Doctor degree in 1985.

Early career

After law school, Klobuchar worked as a corporate lawyer.[6] Before seeking public office, besides working as a prosecutor, Klobuchar was a partner at the Minnesota law firms Dorsey & Whitney and Gray Plant Mooty, where she specialized in "regulatory work in telecommunications law".[15][16][17] Her first foray into politics came after she gave birth and was forced to leave the hospital 24 hours later, a situation exacerbated by the fact that Klobuchar's daughter, Abigail,[6] was born with a condition whereby she could not swallow. The experience led Klobuchar to appear before the Minnesota State Legislature advocating for a bill that would guarantee new mothers a 48-hour hospital stay. Minnesota passed the bill and President Clinton later made the policy federal law.[6]

Klobuchar was first a candidate for public office in 1994 when she ran for Hennepin County Attorney. But she had pledged to drop out if the incumbent, Michael Freeman, got back in the race after failing to win the endorsement of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party for governor. Klobuchar quit the race in June 1994 and supported Freeman for reelection.[18] He did not seek another term in 1998. Before running for office, Klobuchar was active in supporting DFL candidates, including Freeman in 1990. (The County Attorney election is nonpartisan, but Freeman, like Klobuchar, is a Democrat.)

Klobuchar was elected Hennepin County attorney in 1998, and reelected in 2002 with no opposition.[19][6] Minnesota Lawyer named her "Attorney of the Year".[20][21] Klobuchar was President of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association from November 2002 to November 2003.[22]

U.S. Senate


Amy Klobuchar's father, Jim, and supporters campaigning for Klobuchar as U.S. Senator, Tower, Minnesota, July 4, 2012

Amy Klobuchar's father, Jim, and supporters campaigning for Klobuchar as U.S. Senator, Tower, Minnesota, July 4, 2012


In early 2005 U.S. Senator Mark Dayton announced that he would not seek reelection, and Klobuchar was recognized early as a favorite for the DFL nomination for the 2006 election. EMILY's List endorsed her on September 29, 2005, and Klobuchar won the DFL endorsement on June 9, 2006. She gained the support of the majority of DFL state legislators in Minnesota during the primaries. A poll of DFL state delegates showed Klobuchar beating her then closest opponent, Patty Wetterling, 66% to 15%. In January Wetterling dropped out of the race and endorsed Klobuchar. Former Senate candidate and prominent lawyer Mike Ciresi, who was widely seen as a serious potential DFL candidate, indicated in early February that he would not enter the race; that was viewed as an important boost for Klobuchar.[23]

In the general election Klobuchar faced Republican candidate Mark Kennedy, Independence Party candidate Robert Fitzgerald, Constitution candidate Ben Powers, and Green Party candidate Michael Cavlan. Klobuchar led in the polls throughout the campaign, and won with 58% of the vote to Kennedy's 38% and Fitzgerald's 3%, carrying all but eight of Minnesota's 87 counties. She is the first woman to be elected U.S. Senator from Minnesota. (Muriel Humphrey, the state's first female senator and former Second Lady of the United States, was appointed to fill her husband's unexpired term and not elected.)


Klobuchar faced State Representative Kurt Bills and won a second term in the U.S. Senate with 65.2% of the vote to Bills's 30.6%, carrying all but two counties.[24]


Klobuchar ran for a third term and was reelected by a 24-point margin.[25] The Republican nominee was State Senator Jim Newberger. The race was not seen as close, with Klobuchar outraising Newberger $9.9 million to $210,066 as of October 17. Klobuchar maintained a double-digit lead in the polls all autumn.[26]


Female senators of the 110th Congress

Female senators of the 110th Congress

As of September 2009 58% of Minnesotans approved of the job Klobuchar was doing and 36% disapproved.[27] On March 12, 2010, Rasmussen Reports indicated 67% of Minnesotans approved of the job she was doing. The Winona Daily News described her as a "rare politician who works across the aisle". Walter Mondale said, "She has done better in that miserable Senate than most people there."[28]

At the end of the 114th Congress in late 2016, Klobuchar had passed more legislation than any other senator.[29] In February 2017 she called for an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate ties between Russia and President Donald Trump and his administration. Concern about Trump's ties to Russia increased after reports that his campaign officials had repeated contact with senior Russian intelligence officials before the 2016 United States elections.[30][31] Klobuchar had already signaled her interest in U.S.–Russia relations in December 2016 when she joined Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham on a trip to the Baltic states and Ukraine.[32] She maintained high approval ratings throughout 2017, with an April 2017 Star Tribune poll placing her approval rating at 72%.[33] In October 2017 Morning Consult listed Klobuchar among the 10 senators with the highest approval ratings, and a November 2017 KSTP-TV poll put her approval rating at 56%.[34][35] An April 2019 Morning Consult poll found Klobuchar to be the third-most popular sitting senator, with a 58% approval rating and 26% disapproval rating, behind only Vermont Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy.[36]

During the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination hearings in 2018, Kavanaugh gave heated responses to Klobuchar's questions about whether he had ever experienced memory loss after consuming alcohol, for which he later apologized.[37]

In February 2019 BuzzFeed News reported that Klobuchar's congressional office was "controlled by fear, anger, and shame".[38] Interviews with former staffers indicated that Klobuchar frequently abused and humiliated her employees, with as much staff time spent on managing her rage as on official business.[38] Klobuchar was also listed as one of the "worst bosses in Congress", with an annual staff turnover rate between 2011 and 2016 of 36%, the highest of any senator.[39] Also that month a Vanity Fair article described her reputation for cruelty and repeated emotional abuse.[40]

Committee assignments

In the 116th Congress, Klobuchar is on the following committees:

  • Committee on the Judiciary[41] Subcommittee Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights (Ranking Member) Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights, and Federal Courts

  • Joint Economic Committee

  • Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation[42] Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety Subcommittee on Security

  • Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry[43] Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Livestock, Marketing and Agriculture Security

  • Committee on Rules and Administration (Ranking Member)

  • Joint Committee on Printing

  • Joint Committee on Library

Caucus memberships

  • Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus[44]

Role in the Democratic Party

On March 30, 2008, Klobuchar announced her endorsement of Senator Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary, promising her superdelegate vote to him.[45] She cited Obama's performance in the Minnesota caucuses, where he won with 66% of the popular vote, as well as her own "independent judgment". In 2016 she was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton's second campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.[46]

In 2017 Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders represented the Democratic Party in a televised debate on healthcare policy and the possible repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act on CNN.[47]

Since 2015 Klobuchar has served as the chair of the U.S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee[48] (and since 2017 as the Steering Chair).[49]

2020 presidential campaign

Klobuchar (center) with her husband and daughter at her campaign announcement

Klobuchar (center) with her husband and daughter at her campaign announcement

The New York Times and The New Yorker named Klobuchar as one of the women most likely to become the first female President of the United States,[50][51] and MSNBC and The New Yorker named her as a possible nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.[52][53]

The statistical analysis website fivethirtyeight.com has rated Klobuchar as the top (male or female) candidate "who’s getting more home-state support than their party", which "shows she is successfully appealing to voters outside her base."[54]

On February 10, 2019, Klobuchar announced her candidacy in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries.[55] She has said that she uses humor as one way to distinguish herself among the many other Democratic candidates in the 2020 campaign.[56]

Political positions

Klobuchar with Lindsey Graham and John McCain in Latvia in 2016

Klobuchar with Lindsey Graham and John McCain in Latvia in 2016

Klobuchar's political positions have generally been in line with modern American liberalism. She is pro-choice on abortion, supports LGBT rights and Obamacare, and was critical of the Iraq War.

According to GovTrack, Klobuchar passed more legislation than any other senator by the end of the 114th Congress in late 2016.[29] According to Congress.gov, as of December 16, 2018, she had sponsored or co-sponsored 111 pieces of legislation that became law.[57] During the 115th Congress she voted in line with President Trump's position on legislation 31.1% of the time.[58]

Personal life

In 1993 Klobuchar married John Bessler, a private practice attorney and a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law. They have a daughter, Abigail.[6] Klobuchar is a member of the United Church of Christ.[59]

Klobuchar has written two books. In 1986 she published Uncovering the Dome, a case study of the 10-year political struggle to build the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.[60] In 2015 she published an autobiography, The Senator Next Door: A Memoir from the Heartland.[61]

Awards and honors

Klobuchar in 2010

Klobuchar in 2010

Klobuchar has received numerous awards during her career. Minnesota Lawyer named her "Attorney of the Year" in 2001[21] and Mothers Against Drunk Driving gave her a leadership award for advocating for successful passage of Minnesota's first felony DWI law.[62] Working Mother named her a 2008 "Best in Congress" for her efforts on behalf of working families, and The American Prospect named her a "woman to watch".[62]

In 2012 Klobuchar received the Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award at a special Great Outdoors Week celebration presented by the American Recreation Coalition.[63] She was one of the recipients of the Agricultural Retailers Association's 2012 Legislator of the Year Award, alongside Republican Representative John Mica.[64] In 2013 Klobuchar received an award for her leadership in the fight to prevent sexual assault in the military at a national summit hosted by the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN).[65] Also in 2013 she received a Friend of CACFP award for her leadership in passing the Healthy Hunger Free Kids act and her efforts to set new nutrition standards for all meals served in the CACFP by the National Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Sponsors Association.[66] Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken received the 2014 Friends of Farm Bureau Award from the Minnesota branch of the American Farm Bureau Federation.[67] She received the American Bar Association's Congressional Justice Award in 2015 for her efforts to protect vulnerable populations from violence, exploitation, and assault and to eliminate discrimination in the workplace.[68] Also in 2015 the National Consumers League honored Klobuchar with the Trumpeter Award for her work "on regulation to strengthen consumer product safety legislation, on ensuring a fair and competitive marketplace, and increasing accessibility to communications, specifically in the wireless space".[69] In 2016 she received the Goodwill Policymaker Award from Goodwill Industries for her commitment to the nonprofit sector and leading the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act.[70] In 2017 she received the Arabella Babb Mansfield Award from the National Association of Women Lawyers[71] and was chosen as the Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics for the Carrie Chapman Catt Center at Iowa State University.[72]

Electoral history

Hennepin County Attorney

1998 Hennepin County Attorney election[[CITE|73|http://www.sos.state.mn.us/docs/gencounty1998.pdf]]
NonpartisanAmy Klobuchar223,41650.3
NonpartisanSheryl Ramstad Hvass219,67649.4
2002 Hennepin County Attorney election[[CITE|74|http://electionresults.sos.state.mn.us/20021105/ElecRslts.asp?CtyCd=27&M=CTY&Races=0405&CtyNm=Hennepin&ZoneName=&DID=]]
NonpartisanAmy Klobuchar380,63298.7

U.S. Senate

United States Senate Democratic-Farmer-Labor Primary election in Minnesota, 2006
DFLAmy Klobuchar294,67192.51
DFLDarryl Stanton23,8727.49

Note: The ±% column reflects the change in total number of votes won by each party from the previous election.

2006 United States Senate election in Minnesota
Democratic–Farmer–LaborAmy Klobuchar1,278,84958.06%+9.23%
RepublicanMark Kennedy835,65337.94%-5.35%
IndependenceRobert Fitzgerald71,1943.23%-2.58%
GreenMichael Cavlan10,7140.49%n/a
ConstitutionBen Powers5,4080.25%-0.12%
Democratic–Farmer–Labor holdSwing
2012 United States Senate Democratic-Farmer-Labor Primary election in Minnesota
DFLAmy Klobuchar183,76690.80%
DFLDick Franson6,8373.38%
DFLJack Edward Shepard6,6323.28%
DFLDarryl Stanton5,1552.55%
2012 United States Senate election in Minnesota [[CITE|75|http://minnesotaelectionresults.sos.state.mn.us/Results/USSenate/1?officeInElectionId=2]]
Democratic–Farmer–LaborAmy Klobuchar (incumbent)1,854,59565.23+7.1
RepublicanKurt Bills867,97430.53-7.3
IndependenceStephen Williams73,5392.59-0.6
GrassrootsTim Davis30,5311.07N/A
Open ProgressiveMichael Cavlan13,9860.49N/A
Democratic–Farmer–Labor holdSwing
2018 United States Senate election in Minnesota
Democratic–Farmer–LaborAmy Klobuchar (incumbent)1,566,17460.3%-4.93
RepublicanJim Newberger940,43736.2%+5.67
IndependentDennis Schuller66,2362.6%+2.6
GreenPaula Overby23,1010.9%+0.9
Democratic–Farmer–Labor holdSwing

See also

  • Women in the United States Senate


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