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Amy Klobuchar on the issues, in under 500 words

Amy Klobuchar announces her presidential bid
Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Democrat Amy Klobuchar is a senator from Minnesota known for her pragmatism and effective legislating. She has championed bills covering topics ranging from drug pricing to regulating big tech. As of March, she is the only 2020 candidate with an infrastructure proposal, her "top budget priority."

Key facts about Amy Klobuchar:

  • Current position: Senator from Minnesota  — 12 years served
  • Age: 58
  • Born: Plymouth, Minnesota
  • Undergraduate: Yale University
  • Date candidacy announced: Feb. 10, 2019
  • % of votes in line with Trump, per FiveThirtyEight: 30.8%
  • Previous roles: Hennepin County attorney, corporate lawyer

Amy Klobuchar's stance on key issues:

  • Infrastructure: Klobuchar introduced a trillion-dollar policy rollout on March 28 that would use federal funds and tax subsidies to update the country's infrastructure. The policy would also reinstate the Obama administration’s recession-era “Build America Bonds,” which provides state governments with a 35 percent subsidy to offset borrowing costs, per the NYT. Klobuchar's campaign described infrastructure as the candidate's "top budget priority."
  • Health care: She is one of two Democratic presidential candidates who signed a letter backing Medicare Advantage, the growing alternative to traditional Medicare.
  • Mental health: She released a $100 billion plan to combat mental health problems and substance abuse over the next decade. Her plan focuses on prevention, treatment and ongoing recovery. Klobuchar wants a chunk of the money to come from opioid manufacturers for their role in the national epidemic.
  • Climate change: She's one of the backers of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal. In her campaign announcement, she also mentioned ambitious goals for climate legislation.
  • Criminal justice: Klobuchar supported the bipartisan First Step Act, a reform of the federal prison system, in the Senate.
    • At an Axios event, Klobuchar, whose father suffered from alcoholism, spoke personally to the treatment vs. prison debate: "Treatment changed my dad's life. In his own words, he was 'pursued by grace.' I think other people should have the same right."
  • Drug pricing: She urged the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on "pay-for-delay" pharmaceutical deals.
  • Sexual harassment: Klobuchar successfully pushed for legislation mandating sexual harassment training in the Senate.
  • Data privacy: She sponsored a bill that proposed regulations for Facebook's data practices. She also was the lead sponsor of legislation that would regulate online political ads.
  • Opioids: She co-sponsored a bill that would impose a one-cent tax for each milligram of opioids in a pain pill. The funds for the tax would then be used for substance abuse treatment.

Key criticism of Amy Klobuchar:

  • Staff treatment: Multiple media outlets have detailed Klobuchar's alleged history of emotionally abusive treatment of her staff.
  • Pragmatism: Klobuchar hasn't embraced parts of progressive agenda — including on Medicare for All and free college — like many of her fellow 2020 Democratic hopefuls.
  • "Minnesota Nice": A recent New York Times article asks whether a "calm, reasoned, reliable (but not flashy) Democrat" like Klobuchar is what the party needs to fight President Trump.

1 fun thing about Amy Klobuchar:

  • According to a Vogue profile, "[s]he loves to brag that when she first ran for Senate, no one would take her calls, so she raised $17,000 from ex-boyfriends."

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