|United States Senator
January 3, 2007
Serving with Al Franken
|Preceded by||Mark Dayton|
|Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee|
January 3, 2017
|Preceded by||Chuck Schumer|
|County Attorney of Hennepin County|
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Michael Freeman|
|Succeeded by||Michael Freeman|
|Born||Amy Jean Klobuchar
May 25, 1960
Plymouth, Minnesota, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||John Bessler (1993–present)|
|Education||Yale University (BA)
University of Chicago (JD)
Amy Jean Klobuchar (//; born May 25, 1960) is the senior United States Senator from Minnesota. She is a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, an affiliate of the Democratic Party. She is the first woman to be elected as a senator for Minnesota and is one of twenty women serving in the current United States Senate.
She previously served as the county attorney for Hennepin County, Minnesota, the most populous county in Minnesota. She was a legal adviser to former Vice President Walter Mondale. She has been named by The New York Times and The New Yorker as one of the women most likely to become the first female President of the United States, and by MSNBC and The New Yorker as a possible nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Born in Plymouth, Minnesota, Klobuchar is the daughter of Rose Katherine (née Heuberger), who retired at age 70 from teaching second grade, and James John "Jim" Klobuchar, an author and a retired sportswriter and columnist for the Star Tribune. Jim's grandparents were Slovene immigrants, and his father was a miner on the Iron Range; Amy's maternal grandparents were from Switzerland.
Klobuchar attended public schools in Plymouth and was valedictorian at Wayzata High School. She received her bachelor's degree magna cum laude in political science from Yale University in 1982, where she was a member of the Yale College Democrats and the Feminist Caucus. Her senior thesis was published as Uncovering the Dome, a 150-page history describing the ten years of politics surrounding the building of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. Klobuchar served as an associate editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and received her Juris Doctor in 1985 at the University of Chicago Law School.
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Klobuchar was elected as Hennepin County attorney in 1998, and re-elected in 2002 with no opposition. In 2001 Minnesota Lawyer named her "Attorney of the Year". Klobuchar was President of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association from November 2002 to November 2003. Besides working as a prosecutor, Klobuchar was a partner at the Minnesota law firms Dorsey & Whitney and Gray Plant Mooty before seeking public office.
In early 2005 Mark Dayton announced that he would not seek re-election to the U.S. Senate, and Klobuchar was recognized early as a favorite for the DFL nomination for the 2006 election. EMILY's List endorsed Klobuchar on September 29, 2005, and Klobuchar won the DFL's endorsement on June 9, 2006. Klobuchar gained the support of the majority of DFL state legislators in Minnesota during the primaries. A poll taken 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 removal of her most significant potential competitor for the DFL nomination was viewed as an important boost for Klobuchar.
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 consistently led Kennedy in the polls throughout the campaign. Klobuchar won with 58% of the vote to Kennedy's 38% and Fitzgerald's 3%, carrying all but eight of Minnesota's 87 counties. Klobuchar became the first woman to be elected as the 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.)
As of September 2009, 58% of Minnesotans approved of the job she was doing, with 36% disapproving. 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 stated “She has done better in that miserable Senate than most people there."
On March 30, 2008, Klobuchar announced her endorsement of Senator Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary, promising her unpledged superdelegate vote for him. 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 February 2017, Klobuchar called for opening an independent, bipartisan commission like the 9/11 Commission to investigate ties between Russia and U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration. Concern about Trump's ties to Russia increased following reports that Trump's campaign officials had repeated contact with senior Russian intelligence officials before the 2016 United States elections. 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.
For the 113th Congress, Klobuchar is assigned to the following committees:
As a Democrat, Klobuchar's political positions have generally been in line with modern American liberalism. She is pro-choice regarding abortion, supports LGBT rights, favors federal social services such as Social Security and universal health care, and was critical of the Iraq War.
When the Healthy Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010 raised the possibility that pizza would be eliminated from schools, threatening the $3 billion-dollar Schwan Company of Minnesota, Klobuchar petitioned the USDA to protect frozen pizzas in school lunches. This resulted in pizzas being counted as a vegetable.
In March 2007, Klobuchar went on an official trip to Iraq with Senate colleagues Sheldon Whitehouse, John E. Sununu, and Lisa Murkowski. Klobuchar noted that U.S. troops were completing their job and working arduously to train the Iraqis.
Klobuchar opposed President George W. Bush's plan to increase troop levels in Iraq in January 2007. In May 2007, after President Bush vetoed a bill (which Klobuchar voted for) that would fund the troops but would impose time limits on the Iraq War, and supporters failed to garner enough congressional votes to override his veto, Klobuchar voted for additional funding for Iraq without such time limits, saying she "simply could not stomach the idea of using our soldiers as bargaining chips".
Klobuchar opposes free trade agreements that some perceive to cause a loss of jobs in the U.S.. A current[when?] trade agreement with Peru may achieve her support on grounds of expanded labor and environmental protections, even though they contain the same language as past trade agreements.
In August 2007, Klobuchar was one of only 16 Democratic senators and 41 Democratic house members to vote in favor of the "Protect America Act of 2007", which was widely seen as eroding the civil liberty protections of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and posing difficult questions relative to the Fourth Amendment. Klobuchar did, however, vote against granting legal immunity to telecom corporations that cooperated with the NSA warrantless surveillance program.
During the hearing of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, Klobuchar sparred with Senator Tom Coburn when he questioned the nominee about his perception that Americans were "losing freedom." Klobuchar argued that the "free society" the senator favored was one in which women were underrepresented in government, including no representation on the Supreme Court or the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In 2011, Klobuchar introduced S.978, the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, a bill that would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted material for the purpose of "commercial advantage or personal financial gain" a felony under US copyright law. Backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and praised by industry groups, the legislation has been enormously unpopular among critics who believe it would apply to those who stream or post videos of copyrighted content on public sites such as YouTube. Justin Bieber has on radio called for Klobuchar to be "locked up" for supporting a bill that would make "unauthorized web streaming of copyrighted material a felony".
Klobuchar voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009, and she voted for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. In December 2012, Klobuchar advocated to "repeal or reduce" the tax on medical devices included in the Affordable Care Act, as it would be harmful to businesses in her state. Despite this, on September 30, 2013, Klobuchar voted to remove a provision which would repeal the medical device tax from a government funding bill in opposition to the provision being used as a condition in keeping the government open. In January 2015, Klobuchar was one of 17 senators to co-sponsor S. 149, a bill to retroactively repeal the device excise tax.[non-primary source needed] Klobuchar has said that the medical device tax threatens jobs, although her statements have been questioned by investigative journalists. Medtronic spent more than any other medical device company to lobby against the device tax in 2014, with Klobuchar as one of Medtronic's top recipients of political action committee (PAC) donations.
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Klobuchar has been an active supporter of outdoor recreation legislation, including the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and the Travel Promotion Act. When the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed MAP-21,[not in citation given] legislation ending the 1991 user pay-user benefit provision for RTP, trail interests and state park officials warned that the new policy could effectively end the program by relegating recreational trail projects to competition for funding among a broad category of authorized non-highway projects. Klobuchar led efforts to alter the proposal, working closely with recreation interests to develop a floor amendment that would reauthorize the RTP program unchanged. Although she faced bipartisan leadership in support of the committee’s proposal, Klobuchar managed to secure acceptance of her new language by the legislation’s floor manager, and she won strong bipartisan support for her amendment. The result was Senate passage in early 2012 of new surface transportation legislation, which continued RTP with $85 million in guaranteed annual funds and no significant change in its operations.
As chair of the Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion, she played a key role in the 2010 passage of the Travel Promotion Act and the creation of Brand USA, an advertising effort to recover the traditional U.S. share of the international tourism market that will highlight national parks and their natural treasures. With Klobuchar’s active support, the program has been granted $100 million per annum in matching federal funding, is widely expected to bring millions of additional visitors and billions of dollars to the U.S. and its parks each year, and has become the focus of a major White House initiative.
On June 6, 2012, Klobuchar received the Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award at a special Great Outdoors Week celebration presented by the American Recreation Coalition.[not in citation given] The award, created in 1989 to honor the lifelong efforts of Sheldon Coleman, is presented to individuals whose personal efforts have contributed substantially to enhancing outdoor experiences across America. The winner is selected by a panel of 100 national recreation community leaders, ranging from corporate executives to key federal and state officials and nonprofit organization community leaders. Klobuchar is the fifth woman, and the first woman serving in Congress, to receive the honor.
According to her Senate website while serving as Attorney of Hennepin County, Klobuchar was "a leading advocate for successful passage of Minnesota's first felony DWI law." Klobuchar also focused on the prosecution of violent and career criminals while serving as County Attorney.
Klobuchar helped write a paper examining investigative methods used in eyewitness identification of suspects, and advocates 5 procedures for doing so:
|DFL||Amy Klobuchar (incumbent)||1,854,595||65.23||+7.1|
|Open Progressive||Michael Cavlan||13,986||0.49||n/a|
|United States Senate Democratic-Farmer-Labor Primary election in Minnesota, 2012|
|DFL||Jack Edward Shepard||6,632||3.28%|
|United States Senate Democratic-Farmer-Labor Primary election in Minnesota, 2006|
Note: The ±% column reflects the change in total number of votes won by each party from the previous election.
Hennepin County Attorney
|Nonpartisan||Sheryl Ramstad Hvass||219,676||49.4|
Klobuchar's husband, John Bessler, is a private practice attorney and a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law; a native of Mankato, Bessler attended Loyola High School and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota. Klobuchar and Bessler were married in 1993.
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|County Attorney of Hennepin County
|Party political offices|
|Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Minnesota
|Chair of the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee
as Chair of the Senate Democratic Steering Committee
as Chair of the Senate Democratic Outreach Committee
as Chair of the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee
|Chair of the Senate Democratic Steering Committee
|United States Senate|
|U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Minnesota
Served alongside: Norm Coleman, Al Franken
|Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Senators by seniority