Amy Jean Klobuchar (/ˈkloʊbəʃɑːr/; born May 25, 1960) is an American former prosecutor, author and politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Minnesota. She is a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, an affiliate of the Democratic Party, and Minnesota's first elected female U.S. Senator.
Klobuchar previously served as the county attorney for Hennepin County, Minnesota’s most populous county. As an attorney, she worked with former Vice President Walter Mondale. She has been called a "rising star" in the Democratic Party.
|Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee|
January 3, 2017
|Preceded by||Chuck Schumer|
|United States Senator
January 3, 2007
Serving with Tina Smith
|Preceded by||Mark Dayton|
|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 (m. 1993)|
|Education||Yale University (BA)
University of Chicago (JD)
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. Amy has one younger sister. 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 B.A. degree magna cum laude in political science from Yale University in 1982, where she was a member of the Yale College Democrats, the Feminist Caucus, and member of the improv troupe Suddenly Susan. During her time at Yale, Klobuchar spent time as an intern for Senator Walter Mondale. Her senior thesis was Uncovering the Dome, a 150-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. Besides working as a prosecutor, Klobuchar was a partner at the Minnesota law firms Dorsey & Whitney and Gray Plant Mooty before seeking public office. 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 was born with a condition where 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 elected Hennepin County attorney in 1998, and reelected 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.
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.)
From January to July 2009, Klobuchar was the only senator from Minnesota, during the resolution of the disputed 2008 Senate election.
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."
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."
At the end of the 114th Congress in late 2016, Klobuchar was noted as having passed more legislation than any other Senator. In February 2017, she called for 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. She maintained high approval ratings throughout 2017, with the Star Tribune's Minnesota Poll announcing in April 2017 that her approval rating was 72%. In October 2017, Morning Consult listed Klobuchar in the Top 10 of their list of senators with the highest approval rating, and a poll from KSTP-TV in November 2017 showed her approval rating at 56% in comparison to low ratings for Al Franken after he faced allegations of sexual misconduct.
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.
|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.
|Nonpartisan||Sheryl Ramstad Hvass||219,676||49.4|
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.
At the end of the 114th Congress in late 2016, according to GovTrack, Klobuchar passed more legislation than any other Senator. According to Congress.gov, as of January 24, 2018, she has sponsored or co-sponsored 98 pieces of legislation that have become laws.
In August 2007, Klobuchar was one of only 16 Democratic senators and 41 Democratic house members to vote for 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" Coburn favored was one in which women were underrepresented in government, including no representation on the Supreme Court or the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Klobouchar successfully co-sponsored and helped pass the PROTECT Our Children Act of 2017, which adds additional online protections aimed at children on top of her co-sponsored legislation PROTECT Our Children Act of 2008. She also co-sponsored the KIDS Act of 2008, which adds protections against online sexual predators that target children.
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 the sauce used in pizzas being counted as a serving of vegetables.
In March 2007, Klobuchar went on an official trip to Iraq with Senate colleagues Sheldon Whitehouse, John E. Sununu, and Lisa Murkowski. She 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 Bush vetoed a bill (which Klobuchar voted for) that would fund the troops but 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 voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009 and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. In December 2012, she 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 that 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. She 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.
Klobuchar has sponsored and co-sponsored several pieces of legislation aimed at stopping human trafficking that have become law, including the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act; the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act; S.2974 (which funded the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline); and the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015.
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." She also focused on the prosecution of violent and career criminals while serving as County Attorney.
Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York State Attorney General, praised Klobuchar's efforts for legislation against phone theft. In 2017 she took over sponsorship from Al Franken of a bill to provide grants for law enforcement personnel to receive training in how to question survivors of sexual assault and other trauma, after Franken was accused of sexual misconduct.
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.
Klobuchar has been an active supporter of outdoor recreation legislation, including the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). When the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed MAP-21, 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.  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.
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, Minnesota, Bessler attended Loyola High School and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota. Klobuchar and Bessler were married in 1993. They have one child, a daughter.
Klobuchar has written two books. In 1986 she published Uncovering the Dome, a case study of the 10-year political struggle behind the building of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. In 2015 she published an autobiography, The Senator Next Door: A Memoir from the Heartland.
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.
|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
|U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Minnesota
Served alongside: Norm Coleman, Al Franken, Tina Smith
|Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee
|Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Senators by seniority