Amy Jean Klobuchar (//; 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.
|United States Senator|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2007
Serving with Tina Smith
|Preceded by||Mark Dayton|
|Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee|
|Assumed office |
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|
Amy Jean Klobuchar
May 25, 1960
Plymouth, Minnesota, U.S.
John Bessler (m. 1993)
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. In 2009 and 2010, she was described as a "rising star" in the Democratic Party. She is running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2020 election.
Early life and educationEdit
Born in Plymouth, Minnesota, Klobuchar is the daughter of Rose (née Heuberger), who retired at age 70 from teaching second grade, and Jim Klobuchar, an author and a retired sportswriter and columnist for the Star Tribune. Klobuchar has one younger sister, Beth. 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; Klobuchar's maternal grandparents were from Switzerland. Her father was an alcoholic who frequently missed family gatherings during her childhood, spent much time away due to his drinking, and was repeatedly arrested for driving under the influence. Her parents divorced when Klobuchar was 15 and in high school. Klobuchar's father initiated the divorce, calling himself another "middle-aged man with wanderlust". The divorce took a serious toll on the family, eventually causing Klobuchar's sister to drop out of high school, leave home early, and struggle with personal issues for a while. Klobuchar's relationship with her father did not fully recover until the 1990s, when he quit drinking. Klobuchar's parents reconciled a few years after the divorce and remained best friends, and her father eventually regretted the impact the divorce had on the family.
Klobuchar attended public schools in Plymouth and was valedictorian at Wayzata High School. She received her B.A. degree magna cum laude in political science in 1982 from Yale University, where she was a member of the Yale College Democrats, the Feminist Caucus, and the improv troupe Suddenly Susan. During her time at Yale, Klobuchar spent time as an intern for then Vice President, and former Minnesota Senator, Walter Mondale. Her senior thesis was Uncovering the Dome, 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.
After law school, Klobuchar worked as a corporate lawyer. 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". 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, was born with a condition whereby she could not swallow. That 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.
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 re-election. He did not seek another term in 1998. Prior to her bids for office, Klobuchar was active in supporting DFL candidates, including Freeman in 1990. (The County Attorney election is non-partisan, but Freeman, like Klobuchar, is a Democrat.)
Klobuchar was elected Hennepin County attorney in 1998, and reelected in 2002 with no opposition. African American prison admissions in 2006, Klobuchar's last full year, were 22 times higher than whites. Minnesota Lawyer named her "Attorney of the Year". Klobuchar was President of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association from November 2002 to November 2003.
In early 2005 Mark Dayton announced that he would not seek reelection 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 endorsement on June 9, 2006. She 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 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 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. She won convincingly, with 65.2% of the votes to Bills's 30.6%, carrying all but two of the state's counties.
Klobuchar ran for a third term and was reelected by a 24-point margin. The Republican nominee was State Senator Jim Newberger. The race was not seen as close, with Klobuchar out-raising Newberger $9.9 million to $210,066 as of October 17. Klobuchar maintained a double-digit lead in the polls all autumn.
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 said, "She has done better in that miserable Senate than most people there."
At the end of the 114th Congress in late 2016, Klobuchar had passed more legislation than any other senator. 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 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. She maintained high approval ratings throughout 2017, with the Star Tribune's April 2017 Minnesota Poll placing her approval rating at 72%. 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%.
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.
In February 2019 Buzzfeed News reported that Klobuchar's Congressional office was "controlled by fear, anger, and shame". Interviews with former staffers indicated that Klobuchar frequently abuses and humiliates her employees, with as much time spent on managing her rage as on business. 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.
For the 116th Congress, Klobuchar is assigned to the following committees:
- Committee on the Judiciary
- Joint Economic Committee
- Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
- 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
- Committee on Rules and Administration (Ranking Member)
- Joint Committee on Printing
- Joint Committee on Library
Role in the Democratic PartyEdit
On March 30, 2008, Klobuchar announced her endorsement of Senator Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary, promising her 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 2016 she was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton's second campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Klobuchar serves[when?] as the chair of the U.S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee.
2020 presidential campaignEdit
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, and MSNBC and The New Yorker named her as a possible nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.
According to GovTrack, Klobuchar passed more legislation than any other senator by the end of the 114th Congress in late 2016. According to Congress.gov, as of December 16, 2018[update], she had sponsored or co-sponsored 111 pieces of legislation that became law. During the 115th Congress, she voted in line with Trump's position on legislation 31.1 percent of the time.
In 1993, Klobuchar married John Bessler, a private practice attorney and a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law. They have one child, a daughter named Abigail. Klobuchar is a member of the United Church of Christ.
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. In 2015 she published an autobiography, The Senator Next Door: A Memoir from the Heartland.
Awards and honorsEdit
Klobuchar has received numerous awards throughout her career. As Hennepin County Attorney, she was named by Minnesota Lawyer in 2001 as "Attorney of the Year" and received a leadership award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving for advocating for successful passage of Minnesota's first felony DWI law. Working Mother named her as a 2008 "Best in Congress" for her efforts on behalf of working families and The American Prospect named her a "woman to watch".
In 2012, Klobuchar received the Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award at a special Great Outdoors Week celebration presented by the American Recreation Coalition. She was one of the recipients of the Agricultural Retailers Association's 2012 Legislator of the Year Award alongside Republican Representative John Mica. 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). That same year, Klobuchar was named recipient of 2013 Friend of CACFP award for her leadership in the passage of 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. Klobuchar was named alongside Sen. Al Franken as the recipients of the 2014 Friends of Farm Bureau Award by the Minnesota branch of the American Farm Bureau Federation. 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. Also in 2015, Klobuchar was honored by the National Consumers League 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". 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. She was named the recipient of the Arabella Babb Mansfield Award from the National Association of Women Lawyers in 2017. Also in 2017, Klobuchar was chosen as the Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics for the Carrie Chapman Catt Center at Iowa State University.
Hennepin County AttorneyEdit
|Nonpartisan||Sheryl Ramstad Hvass||219,676||49.4|
|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.
|2012 United States Senate Democratic-Farmer-Labor Primary election in Minnesota|
|DFL||Jack Edward Shepard||6,632||3.28%|
|DFL||Amy Klobuchar (incumbent)||1,854,595||65.23||+7.1|
|Open Progressive||Michael Cavlan||13,986||0.49||N/A|
|DFL||Amy Klobuchar (incumbent)||1,566,174||60.3%||-4.93|
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- Senator Amy Klobuchar official U.S. Senate website
- Amy Klobuchar for Senate
- Amy Klobuchar at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- "The Audacity of Minnesota: Senator Amy Klobuchar", Elle, Lisa DePaulo, March 30, 2010
- Collected coverage from Minnesota Public Radio — Campaign 2006: Amy Klobuchar
| County Attorney of Hennepin County
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Minnesota
2006, 2012, 2018
| 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
| U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Minnesota
Served alongside: Norm Coleman, Al Franken, Tina Smith
| Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee|
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Senators by seniority