Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar
United States Senator
from Minnesota
Assumed office
January 3, 2007
Serving with Al Franken
Preceded by Mark Dayton
County Attorney of Hennepin County
In office
January 3, 1999  January 3, 2007
Preceded by Michael Freeman
Succeeded by Michael Freeman
Personal details
Born Amy Jean Klobuchar
(1960-05-25) May 25, 1960
Plymouth, Minnesota, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) John Bessler (m. 1993)
Children Abigail
Alma mater Yale University (BA)
University of Chicago (JD)
Website Senate website

Amy Jean Klobuchar (/ˈklbəʃɑːr/; 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.[1] She has been named by The New York Times as one of the seventeen women most likely to become the first female President of the United States,[2] and by MSNBC and The New Yorker as a possible nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.[3][4]

Early life and education

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.[5]

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.[6] Her senior thesis was published as Uncovering the Dome,[7] 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.[1]


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.

U.S. Senate



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.[8]

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.[9] 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.)

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

Klobuchar faced State Representative Kurt Bills and won a second term to the U.S. Senate. She won convincingly, receiving 65.2% of the votes compared to 30.6% for Bills.


From January to July 2009, Klobuchar was the only senator from Minnesota, until the resolution of the disputed 2008 Senate election for Al Franken.

As of September 2009, 58% of Minnesotans approved of the job she was doing, with 36% disapproving.[10] 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."[11]

On March 30, 2008, Klobuchar announced her endorsement of Senator Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary, promising her unpledged superdelegate vote for him.[12] 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."

Committee assignments

For the 113th Congress, Klobuchar is assigned to the following committees:

Political positions

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.

Food policy

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.[14][15]

Foreign policy

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.[16]

Klobuchar opposed President George W. Bush's plan to increase troop levels in Iraq in January 2007.[17] 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,[18] saying she "simply could not stomach the idea of using our soldiers as bargaining chips".[19]

Free trade

Klobuchar opposes free trade agreements that some perceive to cause a loss of jobs in the U.S.; however, she has wavered on her opposition to such trade agreements since her election. A current 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.[20]

Civil liberties

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.[21][22] Klobuchar did, however, vote against granting legal immunity to telecom corporations that cooperated with the NSA warrantless surveillance program.[23]

Klobuchar voted in favor of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2008, which included a provision to ban the use of waterboarding by the United States.[24]

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.[25]

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.[26][27] 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".[28]

Healthcare reform

Klobuchar voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,[29] and she voted for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[30] 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.[31] 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.[32][33] In January 2015, Klobuchar was one of 17 senators to co-sponsor S. 149, a bill to retroactively repeal the device excise tax.[34] Klobuchar has said that the medical device tax threatens jobs, although her statements have been questioned by investigative journalists.[35][36] 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.[37]

Recreation advocacy

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,[38] 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.[39] 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.[39]

As chair of the Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion, Klobuchar continued to champion vital recreation programs. She played a key role in the 2010 passage of the Travel Promotion Act and the creation of Brand USA,[40] 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.[41]

On June 6, 2012, Klobuchar received the Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award, the recreation community's most prestigious award, at a special Great Outdoors Week celebration presented by the American Recreation Coalition.[42] 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.[43] Klobuchar is the fifth woman, and the first woman serving in Congress, to receive the honor.[44]


According to her self-published biography, while serving as Attorney of Hennepin County, Klobuchar was "a leading advocate for successful passage of Minnesota's first felony DWI law."[45] Klobuchar also focused on the prosecution of violent and career criminals while serving as County Attorney.[45]

Klobuchar helped write a paper[46] examining investigative methods used in eyewitness identification of suspects, and advocates 5 procedures for doing so:

  1. Double-blind line-up administration, in which the individual who shows the victim identification images of possible suspects does not have any knowledge of the identity of the suspect.
  2. Documentation of the witness’ statement of certainty at the time of the identification.
  3. Ensuring non-suspect individuals in the line-up physically resemble the suspect.
  4. Advising the witness that the suspect might not be in the line-up at all.
  5. Presenting the line-up photographs sequentially, rather than all at once.

Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York State Attorney General, praised Klobuchar's efforts for legislation against phone theft.[47]

U.S. Attorney General speculation

In September 2014, when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced his intention to step down, Klobuchar was speculated upon as being a potential candidate as the next U.S. Attorney General.[48]

Electoral history

U.S. Senate

United States Senate election in Minnesota, 2012 [49]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
DFL Amy Klobuchar (incumbent) 1,854,595 65.23 +7.1
Republican Kurt Bills 867,974 30.53 -7.3
Independence Stephen Williams 73,539 2.59 -0.6
Grassroots Tim Davis 30,531 1.07 n/a
Open Progressive Michael Cavlan 13,986 0.49 n/a
Write-ins 2,582
Majority 986,621 34.6 +14.4
Turnout 2,843,207
DFL hold Swing
United States Senate Democratic-Farmer-Labor Primary election in Minnesota, 2012
Party Candidate Votes % +%
DFL Amy Klobuchar 183,766 90.80%
DFL "Dick" Franson 6,837 3.38%
DFL Jack Edward Shepard 6,632 3.28%
DFL Darryl Stanton 5,155 2.55%
United States Senate election in Minnesota, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±
DFL Amy Klobuchar 1,278,849 58.06% +9.23%
Republican Mark Kennedy 835,653 37.94% -5.35%
Independence Robert Fitzgerald 71,194 3.23% -2.58%
Green Michael Cavlan 10,714 0.49% n/a
Constitution Ben Powers 5,408 0.25% -0.12%
Write-ins 954
Majority 443,196 20.2%
Turnout 2,202,772 70.64%
DFL hold Swing
United States Senate Democratic-Farmer-Labor Primary election in Minnesota, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % +%
DFL Amy Klobuchar 294,671 92.51
DFL Darryl Stanton 23,872 7.49

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

Hennepin County Attorney

Hennepin County Attorney election, 2002[50]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Nonpartisan Amy Klobuchar 380,632 98.7
Write-in 4,829 1.3
Hennepin County Attorney election, 1998[51]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Nonpartisan Amy Klobuchar 223,416 50.3
Nonpartisan Sheryl Ramstad Hvass 219,676 49.4

Personal life

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.


  1. 1 2 Senate Web site (2007). "U.S. Senator for Minnesota Amy Klobuchar: Biography". Archived from the original on February 21, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-23.
  2. Zernike, Kate (2008-05-18). "She Just Might Be President Someday". New York Times.
  3. Curry, Tom. "Practical female politico sought for court - Politics - Capitol Hill -". MSNBC. Retrieved 2010-07-20.
  4. Toobin, Jeffrey. "The Supreme Court Farm Team". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-03-17.
  5. "1". Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  6. 1982 Yale Banner, p. 394.
  7. Klobuchar, Amy (April 1986). Uncovering the Dome (reprint ed.). Waveland Press. ISBN 0-88133-218-6.
  8. The Fix – The Friday Line: Can Democrats Get to 6?. Retrieved October 2, 2006.
  9. Full list of poll results at Minnesota United States Senate election, 2006#Polling
  10. "SurveyUSA News Poll #15748". Retrieved 2010-07-20.
  11. Brett Neely – Minnesota Public Radio News. "Klobuchar a rare politician who works across the aisle". Winona Daily News. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  12. Buoen, Roger. "Klobuchar to endorse Obama". Archived from the original on 18 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  14. "Fed Up". Retrieved 2016-05-23.
  15. "Pizza still counts as a veggie in schools". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2016-05-23.
  16. "Klobuchar said she saw gains in the training of Iraqi police in Anbar Province's capital city.". Star Tribune (republished on 27 March 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  17. Diaz, Kevin (2007-01-08). "Minnesota delegation offers cool response". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2007-01-09.
  18. "U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote". 27 January 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  19. "Senator Klobuchar Statement on Emergency Supplemental Bill Passage". US Senate. 27 May 2007. Archived from the original on 25 July 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  20. "Citizens Trade Campaign" (PDF). Citizens Trade Campaign. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  21. John Dean (2007-08-10). "The So-Called Protect America Act: Why Its Sweeping Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Pose Not Only a Civil Liberties Threat, But a Greater Danger As Well". Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-14.
  22. Prof. Marty Lederman (2007-08-23). "How Many Americans Might Be Under Surveillance?". Retrieved 2007-09-14.
  23. "110th Congress / Senate / 2nd session / Vote 15". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 15 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
  24. "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes on Passage of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008". The U.S. Senate. Archived from the original on 6 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
  25. Edwards, Stassa (July 4, 2010). "Not-So-Subtle Sexism at the Kagan Hearings". Ms. Magazine blog. Archived from the original on 12 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
  26. "URGENT: Congress Wants to Make Streaming a Felony". Demand Progress. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  27. "Tons Of YouTube Users Putting Up Videos In Protest To S.978". July 6, 2011. Techdirt. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved July 7, 2011.
  28. "Justin Bieber: Klobuchar should be 'locked up'". Star Tribune. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  29. "U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote". 27 January 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  30. "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Archived from the original on 4 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
  32. "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress – 1st Session: Vote 210". Legislation & Records. United States Senate. Retrieved 2013-09-30.
  33. Kevin Diaz (September 30, 2013). "Complicated shutdown votes for key Minnesotans". Star Tribune.
  34. United States. Cong. Senate. 114th Congress, 1st Session. S. 149, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax on medical devices. [introduced in the U.S. Senate; January 13, 2015]. GPO. March 9, 2015.
  35. Alan Fram. "Medical device tax repeal struggles in Congress. PBS", Washington DC, 31 January 2015. Retrieved on 30 March 2015.
  36. Michelle Ye Hee Lee. "Has the medical device tax eliminated 'thousands' of jobs?. The Washington Post", Washington DC, 07 January 2015. Retrieved on 30 March 2015.
  37. Henry Powderly. See which medical device companies lobbied the most in 2014. Healthcare Finance News. Retrieved on 30 March 2015.
  38. "U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works". Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  39. 1 2 "Senate version of Transportation funding bill Map-21". Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  40. "About Brand USA". Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  41. "Discover America l Official USA Travel Guide to American Holidays". Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  42. "About ARC". Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  43. "19th Annual Coleman Award Winner To Be Chosen by National Panel of Recreation and Conservation Leaders". Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  44. Greg Gerber. "Sen. Klobuchar receives Coleman Award". RV Daily Report – Breaking RV Industry News and Campground Information. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  45. 1 2 "Biography". Archived from the original on 2013-05-12. Retrieved 2013-05-06. (official Senate webpage, 2013)
  46. (Klobuchar&Lindell 2005)
  47. "Statement From A.G. Schneiderman Praising Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar For Introducing Smartphone Theft Prevention Act". New York State Office of the Attorney General. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  48. Camia, Catalina (25 September 2014). "After Eric Holder: Potential attorney general choices". USA Today. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  49. "Statewide Results for U.S. Senator". Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  50. "Unofficial Results: General Election". Minnesota Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2012-05-17. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
  51. "County Offices: Official Results" (PDF). Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved 2009-01-05.

External links

Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Amy Klobuchar
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Legal offices
Preceded by
Michael Freeman
County Attorney of Hennepin County
Succeeded by
Michael Freeman
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mark Dayton
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Minnesota
(Class 1)

2006, 2012
Most recent
Preceded by
Mark Begich
Chair of the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee
Succeeded by

as Chair of the Senate Democratic Steering Committee
Succeeded by
Bernie Sanders

as Chair of the Senate Democratic Outreach Committee
Preceded by
as Chair of the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee
Chair of the Senate Democratic Steering Committee

Taking office 2017
United States Senate
Preceded by
Mark Dayton
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Minnesota
Served alongside: Norm Coleman, Al Franken
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Claire McCaskill
U.S. Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Sheldon Whitehouse
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