Minnesota’s first female senator wants to become the US’s first female president. Say hello to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Psst...her last name is pronounced KLOH-buh-shar. You’re welcome.
Before taking on Capitol Hill, she was a corporate lawyer and Hennepin County attorney in MN. She’s been a senator since 2006, and has become really popular in the Midwest. There, she’s made herself known as a moderate Democrat who’s gotten support from red voters and worked with Republicans on things like combatting human trafficking and confronting the opioid epidemic.
The Elephant in the Room
A Washington Post report put a spotlight on Klobuchar for not prosecuting police officers accused of killing black suspects when she worked for Hennepin County. There’ve also been reports that Klobuchar mistreats her staff. She admitted she’s pushed people too hard at times, but also defended her actions, saying her toughness can help her as president. And while some see her ability to win over Republicans as an asset in the general election, her moderate stance may be a liability in the Democratic primaries.
The 2020 Policies
On education...she thinks free college tuition and erasing all of the student debt is unrealistic. But she’s here for free tuition for two-year community colleges, expanding Pell Grants (federal aid for low-income college students), and letting students refinance their loans at lower interest rates.
On criminal justice…she has a few ideas: she wants to implement a clemency board and a WH position (outside the DOJ) to look at potential pardons. She’s also interested in lowering mandatory minimum sentences. Reforming the cash bail system. More funding for public defenders. And reforms that would make it easier for inmates to integrate back into society.
On the environment…she’s saying yes to the Green New Deal as an “aspirational” starting point for addressing climate change. She also wants the US to rejoin the Paris climate deal – which set standards for pretty much the entire world to lower carbon emissions.
On guns…she supports things like universal background checks, and a ban on assault weapons. But she also wants to make sure people who use guns for hunting wouldn’t be hurt by these measures.
On health care…she’s not ready to embrace Medicare for All, but she wants to move towards universal health care that allows people to opt into government-run plans. She also wants to expand Medicare to include anyone that’s 55 and older (as opposed to 65 and older).
To some, Klobuchar is the Goldilocks of politics – not too right, not too left, juuuust right in the middle. That – and her popularity in the Midwest – could help her win over Dems in cases like the Iowa caucus...or could hold her back from winning over progressives as the crowded field embraces those policies.