Who is Amy Klobuchar? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate

 

Editor's note: This story is part of PolitiFact’s ongoing coverage of the 2020 campaign; these reports will be updated as the campaign continues. For more candidate profiles and fact-checking, go to www.politifact.com/2020/

Three times, Amy Klobuchar has won U.S. Senate elections by wide margins in the politically competitive state of Minnesota. She is running for the presidency in 2020 by positioning herself as ideologically and rhetorically more moderate than most other members of the large candidate field.

She has introduced a $1 trillion plan to support and expand infrastructure and a $100 billion plan to improve substance abuse and mental health treatment. She has also expressed support for the Green New Deal plan to tackle climate change. But while Klobuchar has largely voted with her Democratic colleagues in the Senate, Klobuchar has declined on the campaign trail to endorse far-reaching proposals backed by many of her rivals, including free four-year college and single-payer health care.

Klobuchar grew up in the Minneapolis area. Her father was a prominent newspaper columnist, but he struggled with alcoholism, making family life difficult at times. (This part of her life became more widely known after her 2018 confirmation-hearing face-off with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; facing questions about his own drinking, the nominee asked Klobuchar whether she’d ever blacked out,. He later apologized.)

Klobuchar earned her undergraduate degree from Yale, then interned for former Vice President Walter Mondale. After earning a law degree from the University of Chicago, she was elected county attorney for Minneapolis-based Hennepin County in 1998.

This story is part of PolitiFact’s ongoing coverage of the 2020 campaign. For more candidate profiles and fact-checking, go to www.politifact.com/2020/

Klobuchar won her Senate seat in the strongly Democratic year of 2006, and easily won reelection twice against underwhelming opposition, most recently in 2018.

According to FiveThirtyEight, Klobuchar has voted with President Donald Trump just 29 percent of the time, but that was still a higher score than any of her other Senate Democratic colleagues running for president.

Klobuchar’s biggest controversy to date has revolved around how she has treated her aides. The congressional data clearinghouse LegiStorm found that Klobuchar had more staff turnover in her first decade than any senator, and several media outlets reported examples suggesting a difficult work environment. Klobuchar told Politico, "I love our staff. And yes, I can be tough. And yes, I can push people. ... I have, I'd say, high expectations for myself. I have high expectations for the people who work for me. But I have high expectations for this country, and that's what we need."

Name: Amy Klobuchar

Current occupation: U.S. Senator from Minnesota

Party: Democratic Party

Federal offices: Elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006, 2012, and 2018.

Key votes: Voted against the Trump tax bill, 2017; against efforts to scale back the Affordable Care Act in 2017; and against Supreme Court nominations of Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.

State and local offices: Served as the elected Hennepin County Attorney, 1998-2006.

Private sector work: Practicing attorney, 1985-1998.

Military: None

Books authored: "The Senator Next Door: A Memoir from the Heartland" (2015); "Uncovering the Dome" (1986)

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

Birth date: May 25, 1960

Personal life: John Bessler (husband), one child

Religion: Congregationalist

Top issues: Consumer product safety, environment, prescription drug pricing, transportation and infrastructure, telecommunications.

Endorsements: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith, former Vice President Walter Mondale, and several other Minnesota elected officials.

Major donors: The biggest industry donor category for Klobuchar has been lawyers and law firms, but she ranks near the top in donations from several other sectors, including food products manufacturing (first among senators); lodging and tourism (first); auto manufacturers (second); and dairy.

Miscellaneous: Serves potica, a Slovenian nut roll, to visiting constituents.

Other coverage: PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter; Washington Post, "Amy Klobuchar’s big Brett Kavanaugh moment earned rave reviews. But is it what Democrats demand for 2020?" Sept. 29, 2018; New York Times, "Amy Klobuchar Is ‘Minnesota Nice.’ But Is That What Democrats Want for 2020?" Nov. 26, 2018; New Yorker, "Senator Amy Klobuchar on How Democrats Can Defeat Trump in 2020," Dec. 18, 2018; Huffington Post, "Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s Mistreatment Of Staff Scared Off Candidates To Manage Her Presidential Bid," Feb. 7, 2019; Vox.com, "Amy Klobuchar doesn’t think America is ready for Medicare-for-all and free college yet," Feb. 19, 2019.

Campaign website: https://amyklobuchar.com/