BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
When Minnesota’s U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar looked out over the cheering crowd of 1,100 supporters that came to the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora on Feb. 20, the day after the Feb. 19th Democratic presidential debate that was more like a family brawl (some would say a circular firing squad), she said, “Wow. If this isn’t momentum, I don’t know what is.” The throng of people, comprised of almost as many men as women, responded enthusiastically.
The candidate opened with, “It’s time to cross the divide in our politics to get to a higher plain. What unites Americans is that the heart of this country is so much bigger than the heart of the guy in the White House. This election is a decency check. We remember a time when if a president spoke, everyone listened, because it was important. We need to bring people with us instead of shutting them out. This is also a patriotism check. Thousands of Americans have lost their lives protecting democracy and Donald Trump makes a joke out of it.”
Klobuchar is not at the top of any polls and hasn’t won any caucuses or primaries, but she holds a unique niche in the cluster of candidates still vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. She’s not over 75 years old and she’s not under 40. She doesn’t hate any specific group of people—even billionaires. She believes that college costs are out of control, but doesn’t think taxpayers should pay off college loans or provide tuition to students from wealthy families who choose to go to pricey private colleges. She comes from a simple background in middle America and is someone that comes across as having a lot in common with “regular people,” something she emphasized in her Denver visit when she said, “The middle of the country is not flyover country, they are my people.” Still, her undergraduate degree from Yale University and University of Chicago law degree indicate a higher-than-average intellect under that warm, down-home smile.
Now in her 19th year as a United States senator, Klobuchar was named the “most effective Democratic senator in Congress” in a Vanderbilt University study last year. She was recognized in late 2016 as having “passed more legislation than any other senator.” Those accolades demonstrate an authentic talent for getting along with all types of people on both sides of the aisle.
Klobuchar’s policies are notably middle-of-the-road. On an issue at or near the top of most Americans’ concerns, she said, “We need to bring down the cost health care. We need it to be better, not blow it up.” On pharmaceuticals she said, “Pharma has two lobbyists for every Member of Congress. We need to change the rule that prevents Medicare from negotiating prices. We have 30 cosponsors for it in the Senate.” She would make it easier for senior citizens who would rather stay in their home than go to nursing homes. Klobuchar talked about “connecting the education system to the economy,” since we are going to have over one million openings for electricians, plumbers, certified nursing assistants and home health care workers.
The candidate told the crowd that she supports free one and two-year college programs and would like to double the value of Pell grants (for needy undergraduate students) to $12,000.
On immigration, Klobuchar believes that “Immigrants do not diminish America. They are America.”
On day one of her presidency, Klobuchar said she would “get back into the Paris Climate Agreement.” She noted that the United States is the only country in the world that is not part of the agreement now that Syria and Nicaragua, who were the last holdouts, have signed.
Editor’s note: By the time you read this, Klobuchar might have dropped out of the presidential race….or, maybe, when all the extreme candidates have worn themselves and the voters out espousing polarizing rhetoric, middle-of-the-road Senator Amy Klobuchar will be left standing.
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