How Amy Klobuchar's Own Pregnancy Got Her Into Politics and Why She Wants You to Know She's the Real Problem Solver


News / Worldwide 8 Views

How Amy Klobuchar's Own Pregnancy Got Her Into Politics and Why She Wants You to Know She's the Real Problem Solver


News / Worldwide 8 Views

When Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced her 2020 presidential campaign alongside the snowy banks of the Mississippi River final February, she spoke of unity.

Months later, she returned to that theme in an interview with PEOPLE.

“We've to cross the river of our divides,” the 59-year-old lawmaker says. “And so that was my point about how should you’re uninterested in the noise and the nonsense and the extremes in our politics, you could have a home with me.”

The three-term senator and former prosecutor is considered one of two main ladies still operating for the 2020 Democratic nomination, together with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. A fellow senate colleague, California’s Kamala Harris, left the race late final yr after New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Harris, Klobuchar and Warren, who all appeared on the talk stage as part of a historic number of ladies vying for the presidency, have been named among PEOPLE’s Women Changing the World in 2019.

Klobuchar’s candidacy has its challenges: She has not polled within the highest tier of candidates, next to Sens. Warren and Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden. And she or he is aware of that, final yr, she did not have their identify recognition.

However she has a message: As a highly well-liked politician in her Midwestern state, she might construct a coalition to defeat President Donald Trump — and she or he had a monitor report of bipartisan accomplishments.

Speaking with PEOPLE, Klobuchar credits her success to her understanding of others, saying she makes an effort to visit voters in small cities and help bridge gaps between them. Standing at the Mississippi last yr, she made this argument literal: The river divides the country from north to south.

“I don’t need to be the president for half of America,” she stated then. “I need to be the president for all of America.”

“That’s about changing the tone,” Klobuchar tells PEOPLE. “However the coverage that I’m proudest of is just being the primary one to return out with mental well being and habit plans. And plenty of that’s rooted in my very own expertise.”

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Klobuchar’s entry into politics was personal: After giving start to daughter Abigail, who couldn’t swallow and was being handled in intensive care, Klobuchar was kicked out of the hospital 24 hours later. That led her to start out advocating for a invoice that assured longer hospital stays for brand spanking new moms. She fought for the bill in front of the Minnesota legislature and ultimately helped improve hospital stays for brand spanking new mothers to 48 hours.

“Once they tried to delay the implementation date, I brought six pregnant pals to the conference committee,” Klobuchar says, recounting her origin story with ease and a bit of humor. “They outnumbered the lobbyists two-to-one, and when the legislators requested when should it take impact, all of the pregnant moms raised their palms. They actually moved up the date to when the governor signed it as opposed to have it go later.”

President Invoice Clinton signed a similar bill into federal regulation in 1996.

“For me it was truly getting one thing finished,“ she says now, “and figuring out I had the power to try this and that I needed to maintain doing that.”

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Earlier than she turned a senator, Klobuchar served as the Hennepin County prosecutor for almost 10 years. Her politics stem from private experiences, she says, together with her push for elevated mental well being remedy.

There’s never been a president who has made the difficulty a precedence the best way she would, she tells PEOPLE, mentioning that growing accessibility and affordability for psychological well being remedy is considered one of her primary priorities.

She tells this story: Her father, Jim, struggled with alcoholism throughout her life and had three citations for driving whereas impaired, including one soon before his daughter’s wedding ceremony in 1993.

“He had to decide on between jail and remedy and he chose remedy,” Klobuchar says. “In his phrases, he was pursued by grace. And I consider everybody has that proper. Whether or not they’re struggling, with one in 5 People battling mental health sooner or later in their life, or habit — or one in two individuals know somebody or someone in their household. We simply haven’t had sufficient on that.”

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Klobuchar is aware, too, of her place in history — what new place she is carving out, as a female politician, and the women who’ve come earlier than her.

She shares anecdotes of younger women asking her to sign things and speak politics and her husband, John Bessler, campaigning for her as an alternative of the other approach round

“We've ladies governors from both parties and we've got more ladies in Congress, and it just makes individuals more prepared for a lady operating for this job,” she says. “I actually consider Hillary will go down in historical past of breaking that ceiling despite the fact that she didn’t win. I all the time assume that she did break the glass ceiling as a result of proper after that was all these ladies simply couldn’t stand it anymore. They either ran or they helped other ladies run, and it actually was a sea of change.”

“That’s going to actually shake issues up,” Klobuchar says, “It means a transparent signal that things are going to be totally different.”