Six years ago Amy Klobuchar became the first woman elected to represent the State of Minnesota in the United States Senate. She was sworn in on January 4, 2007
In 1998, after serving as a partner in Minnesota’s Dorsey & Whitney and Gray, Plant, Mooty law firms, Amy was elected to serve as the prosecutor for Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis and 45 suburbs. During her eight years as County Attorney, Amy focused on the prosecution of violent and career criminals. She was a leading advocate for successful passage of Minnesota’s first felony DWI law, for which she received a leadership award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Her safe schools initiative, community prosecution efforts, and criminal justice reforms earned national awards, including from the U.S. Department of Justice under both the Clinton and Bush administrations. She was elected by her colleagues to serve as president of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association.
In 2006, the people of Minnesota elected Amy to be their U.S. Senator. She acted quickly to obtain full funding for the I-35W bridge, the eight-lane highway which was rebuilt in a record nine months after tragically falling into the Mississippi River. She fought to ensure that Minnesota National Guard members received the full benefits they earned, including passing a bill in 2012 to make good on promises made to already deployed troops. She helped turn Minnesota’s ground-breaking “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon” program into a national model. As a member of the Agriculture Committee, she worked closely with Minnesota farmers to pass a strong 2008 Farm Bill to boost the state’s agriculture industry and was a leader in passing the 2012 Farm Bill through the Senate. And she has helped hundreds of Minnesota families navigate the difficult and complicated international adoption process.
Amy has always stood up for middle-class families. At the national level she took the lead to pass the most significant consumer product safety legislation in a generation, keeping foreign toxic products off our shores and out of our stores, and helped push through a new law to protect children from unsafe swimming pools. She also authored a bipartisan law to establish national health standards for formaldehyde in composite wood products, protecting public health and ensuring an even playing field between domestic wood products and foreign imports. She was the lead Senate author of a bill that was passed into law which assists young women with breast cancer. She led the effort to pass a national law for prescription drug take-backs and in July of 2012 the President signed into law her high-profile provision to address prescription drug shortages across the country. And, as co-chair of the medical device caucus, she has worked on a bipartisan basis to speed up the approval times for life-saving medical devices.
As chair of the Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion, Amy has been a leading voice in calling for an innovation agenda that can help grow our economy and create jobs in America. She has authored legislation to help small businesses tap into new markets abroad and help students get the technical training they need for the jobs of the future. She has worked hard in the area of tourism to reduce job-killing visa wait times. And she was part of a group of senators who fought for the creation of a bipartisan debt reduction commission to address our nation’s looming debt crisis. She continues to work with a bipartisan group of senators to put in place a long-term plan to responsibly reduce our debt in a balanced way. And as chair of the Judiciary Courts subcommittee, she has played a key role in advancing judges for confirmation and in the two U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominations hearings.
Nearly two-thirds of Amy’s bills are cosponsored with Republicans and a few examples of her successful bipartisan legislative efforts include: (1) a reform to give community bankers a say in the national banking system; (2) beginning farmer and rancher provisions in the Farm bill; (3) a law allowing the building of the St. Croix bridge; (4) a ban on industry-paid travel by government safety regulators; (5) a ban on destroying military sexual assault records (for which she obtained the bipartisan sponsorship of all seventeen women senators); (6) a health care value index to increase accountability by emphasizing quality over quantity in health care delivery systems; and (7) a ban on dangerous synthetic drugs; and (8) provisions to improve driver safety.
Her work has gained national recognition. Working Mother Magazine named her as a 2008 “Best in Congress” for her efforts on behalf of working families. The American Prospect named her a “woman to watch.” The Star Tribune reported on her substantial progress, calling her “a fast-moving legislator.”
Amy was the valedictorian of her Wayzata High School class. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School. Her senior essay in college, published as the book “Uncovering the Dome,” chronicles the 10-year-history behind the building of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and is still used at colleges and universities across the country.
Amy is married to John Bessler, a native of Mankato, who attended Loyola High School and the University of Minnesota. Amy and John have a daughter, Abigail, who is 17 and is in her senior year of high school.