Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D)

Minnesota

Leadership: Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee Chairman

N/A

klobuchar.senate.gov

Biography

Elected: 2006, term expires 2018, 2nd term.

Born: May 25, 1960, Plymouth, MN

Home: Minneapolis, MN

Education: Yale U., B.A. 1982, U. of Chicago, J.D. 1985

Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1985-98.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Congregationalist

Family: Married (John Bessler) , 1 child

Democrat Amy Klobuchar, first elected in 2006, is Minnesota’s senior senator. She is one of the most impressive young members of the Senate, notching numerous legislative accomplishments and sometimes is mentioned as a future Supreme Court justice or presidential candidate.

Klobuchar (KLO-bu-shar) was born in the Minneapolis suburb of Plymouth, the daughter of longtime Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Jim Klobuchar. She helped her father recover from alcoholism, a battle that he later documented in a book. She graduated from Yale, where she wrote a senior paper on the machinations behind the building of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. She went on to get a law degree from the University of Chicago. Returning home, she worked as a lawyer and a lobbyist. In 1998, Klobuchar ran successfully for Hennepin County prosecuting attorney, and went on to serve two terms. She spearheaded a crackdown on gun crimes and was credited with securing nearly 300 homicide convictions.

Minneapolis’ Hennepin County is the center of a media market that includes most of Minnesota’s population, providing Klobuchar an excellent springboard to run for the Senate in 2006 after Mark Dayton announced he would not seek reelection. On the Republican side, 6th District Republican Rep. Mark Kennedy made it clear he was running. He was fresh from defeating well-known and well-financed Democratic challenger Patty Wetterling; Sen. Norm Coleman and other Minnesota Republicans quickly united behind his candidacy.

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party field took time to shake out. Klobuchar was the first to formally announce her candidacy in April. Several other prominent DFLers decided against running, including former Vice President Walter Mondale. Wetterling pondered the race but decided to run in the open 6th District instead. Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation President Ford Bell did run but dropped out after Klobuchar received the party endorsement at the DFL state convention in June.

Kennedy sought to distance himself from the Iraq war and President George W. Bush, by then an unpopular Republican president. He ran an ad listing issues on which he voted against the Bush administration and promised to be independent. He tried to portray Klobuchar as another ineffective liberal, questioning the number of cases she actually prosecuted and highlighting the increasing rate of violent crime in Minneapolis. But all this was unavailing in what turned out to be a heavily Democratic year. Klobuchar called Kennedy a “rubber stamp for President Bush” and called for middle-class tax relief and an increase in the minimum wage. She emphasized her tough-on-crime credentials as a prosecutor. Klobuchar consistently led in polls and won 58%-38%, the biggest Minnesota Senate victory since 1978—only twice did Hubert Humphrey win by a margin that big. She swept the Iron Range, won 2-to-1 in the Twin Cities core counties and carried suburban Dakota, Anoka, and Washington counties handily.

In the Senate, Klobuchar has been a fairly reliable Democratic vote, with some centrist tendencies, and has taken on several prominent assignments. She took a lead role in 2009 in the successful effort to confirm Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, organizing a group of women senators to give floor speeches and urging lawyers and legal experts to refute criticisms of Sotomayor’s record. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., also asked Klobuchar that year to reach out to farm-state members as Boxer sought to shape her bill regulating greenhouse gas emissions. In the 112th Congress (2011-12), she got a bill into law clarifying the time limits for appealing civil lawsuits against the federal government. She and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., won passage of a measure eliminating redundant baggage screening for travelers arriving from airports that participate in the United States’ preclearance program.

Klobuchar’s fans among Republicans include New York Times columnist David Brooks, who wrote in 2012, “She represents the modern senator to me. Not some big-hair blowhard, but a happy regular person with an independent streak.” But GOP critics have accused her of concentrating on popular, easy-to-support legislative matters without immersing herself in more controversial issues, in the tradition of former Gopher State Sens. Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy and Paul Wellstone. Former Minnesota GOP Gov. Arne Carlson called her “the great avoider.” Klobuchar told the Star Tribune in 2012 that the criticism is unwarranted: “I’ve worked on things that have actually passed and gotten done, that have helped people.” The newspaper reported, though, that gay activists said she should have been quicker to support ending the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on openly gay service members, and that environmentalists were angry at her efforts to remove Minnesota wolves from the federal endangered species list and her support for a new bridge over the St. Croix River.

One of her top issues is consumer protection. Klobuchar got several provisions to toughen airline safety into the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization that became law in February 2012, and she has advocated strong country-of-origin labeling for imported food. She also has sponsored several bills aimed at giving cell phone users more clout in dealing with companies. In 2007, after a 6-year-old sustained serious injuries from a swimming pool drain in St. Louis Park, Klobuchar and 3rd District Republican Jim Ramstad sponsored a bill banning swimming pool covers that fail to meet entrapment safety standards and requiring automatic drain shutoffs. It was signed into law in December. After news stories described the discovery of lead in children’s toys made in China, she sponsored provisions in the Senate child safety bill that banned lead in children’s products and a requirement that toys contain batch numbers to make recalls easier. She served on the conference committee that negotiated the final version, which became law in 2008.

Klobuchar also sponsored a bill to prosecute online stalkers and to require schools to have anti-bullying policies. She did anger teen-pop sensation Justin Bieber in 2011 when she introduced a bill making it a felony to profit from streaming unlicensed content online. “She needs to be locked up, put away in cuffs,” said Bieber, who gained fame when his music got exposure on YouTube.

With a seat on the Agriculture Committee, Klobuchar had a role in drafting the 2008 and 2012 farm bills. In 2012, she and Max Baucus, D-Mont., got a provision in the Senate-passed version that reduced the cost of crop insurance by 10%. Four years earlier, she got into the final version of the farm bill a provision creating incentives for farmers to switch to cellulosic crops like switch grass to make ethanol. After gasoline prices spiked in May 2008, she backed a windfall profits tax on oil companies and in September, joined a bipartisan group pushing coastal states to allow offshore oil drilling. On the financial industry regulation overhaul that passed in 2010, Klobuchar and Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison won a provision to maintain regional Federal Reserve banks’ supervision of community banks.

Klobuchar had developed a reputation as a resident wit in Washington long before comedian Al Franken joined her as a colleague. At an Iowa delegation breakfast at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, she tweaked former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s infamous statement about her state’s proximity to Russia by exclaiming, “I can see Iowa from my porch!” Asked about her own possible presidential aspirations, she reiterated her desire to remain in the Senate with a quip: “Who wouldn’t love a job that has a 12% approval rating?” She was a hit as a speaker at a national press dinner in 2009, joking that while she held the Senate record for raising money from ex-boyfriends, the House record belonged to Barney Frank. (The former Massachusetts Democrat is openly gay.)

Klobuchar is popular back home. She instituted “Minnesota Mornings,” to meet every Thursday the Senate is in session with visiting Minnesotans for coffee and potica, a traditional Slovenian holiday nut roll, a reminder of her ethnic heritage and Iron Range roots. Republicans hoped to have a shot at unseating her in 2012, but polls showed her beating all potential contenders, including conservative lightning rod Rep. Michele Bachmann. Her challenger was little-known GOP state Rep. Kurt Bills, whom she crushed with 65% of the vote.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-3244

(202) 228-2186

HSOB- Hart Senate Office Building Room 302
Washington, DC 20510-2308

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-3244

(202) 228-2186

HSOB- Hart Senate Office Building Room 302
Washington, DC 20510-2308

DISTRICT OFFICE

(612) 727-5220

(612) 727-5223

1200 Washington Avenue South Suite 250
Minneapolis, MN 55415-1588

DISTRICT OFFICE

(612) 727-5220

(612) 727-5223

1200 Washington Avenue South Suite 250
Minneapolis, MN 55415-1588

DISTRICT OFFICE

(218) 287-2219

(218) 287-2930

121 Fourth Street South
Moorhead, MN 56560-2613

DISTRICT OFFICE

(218) 287-2219

(218) 287-2930

121 Fourth Street South
Moorhead, MN 56560-2613

DISTRICT OFFICE

(507) 288-5321

(507) 288-2922

1130 1/2 Seventh Street, NW
Rochester, MN 55901-1732

DISTRICT OFFICE

(507) 288-5321

(507) 288-2922

1130 1/2 Seventh Street, NW
Rochester, MN 55901-1732

DISTRICT OFFICE

(218) 741-9690

(218) 741-3692

Olcott Plaza Suite 105
Virginia, MN 55792-2300

DISTRICT OFFICE

(218) 741-9690

(218) 741-3692

Olcott Plaza Suite 105
Virginia, MN 55792-2300

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

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Abortion

Flynn Rico-Johnson
Legislative Correspondent

Acquisitions

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Aerospace

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Tommy Walker
Legislative Assistant

Agriculture

Anne Knapke
Deputy Legislative Director

Brian Werner
Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Travis Talvitie
Legislative Director

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Flynn Rico-Johnson
Legislative Correspondent

Banking

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Lara Muldoon
Senior Economic Advisor

Budget

Lara Muldoon
Senior Economic Advisor

Census

Tommy Walker
Legislative Assistant

Commerce

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Lara Muldoon
Senior Economic Advisor

Flynn Rico-Johnson
Legislative Correspondent

Tommy Walker
Legislative Assistant

Communication

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Consumers

Tommy Walker
Legislative Assistant

Crime

Timothy Cossalter
Outreach Director for Veterans Affairs and Military Issues

Megan Sharp
Outreach Director

Disability

Megan Sharp
Outreach Director

Disaster

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Economics

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Lara Muldoon
Senior Economic Advisor

Education

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Environment

Anne Knapke
Deputy Legislative Director

Brian Werner
Legislative Assistant

Greg Swanholm
Outreach Director

Family

Clara Haycraft
Deputy State Director for Administration

Megan Sharp
Outreach Director

Finance

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Foreign

Lindsey Herbel
Foreign Affairs and National Security Counsel

Govt Ops

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Health

Flynn Rico-Johnson
Legislative Correspondent

Megan Sharp
Outreach Director

Homeland Security

Lindsey Herbel
Foreign Affairs and National Security Counsel

Ben Driscoll
Legislative Aide

Housing

Flynn Rico-Johnson
Legislative Correspondent

Human Rights

Megan Sharp
Outreach Director

Immigration

Siad Ali
Senior Constituent Services Advocate

Intergovernmental

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Labor

Travis Talvitie
Legislative Director

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Lara Muldoon
Senior Economic Advisor

Clara Haycraft
Deputy State Director for Administration

Greg Swanholm
Outreach Director

Medicare

Flynn Rico-Johnson
Legislative Correspondent

Military

Greg Swanholm
Outreach Director

Timothy Cossalter
Outreach Director for Veterans Affairs and Military Issues

National Security

Lindsey Herbel
Foreign Affairs and National Security Counsel

Native Americans

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Public Works

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Recreation

Brian Werner
Legislative Assistant

Science

Tommy Walker
Legislative Assistant

Social Security

Lara Muldoon
Senior Economic Advisor

Tax

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Lara Muldoon
Senior Economic Advisor

Technology

Tommy Walker
Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Flynn Rico-Johnson
Legislative Correspondent

Tommy Walker
Legislative Assistant

Trade

Tommy Walker
Legislative Assistant

Transportation

Danny Carlson
Legislative Assistant

Flynn Rico-Johnson
Legislative Correspondent

Veterans

Greg Swanholm
Outreach Director

Timothy Cossalter
Outreach Director for Veterans Affairs and Military Issues

Women

Megan Sharp
Outreach Director

** denotes a leadership staffer

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Amy Klobuchar
Votes: 1,854,595
Percent: 65.29%
Kurt Bills
Votes: 867,974
Percent: 30.56%
2012 PRIMARY
Amy Klobuchar
Votes: 183,766
Percent: 90.8%
2006 GENERAL
Amy Klobuchar
Votes: 1,278,849
Percent: 58.0%
Mark Kennedy
Votes: 835,653
Percent: 38.0%
2006 PRIMARY
Amy Klobuchar
Votes: 294,671
Percent: 93.0%
Darryl Stanton
Votes: 23,872
Percent: 7.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2006 (58%)

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