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Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar in 2013
Official portrait, 2013
Chair of the Senate Rules Committee
Assumed office
February 3, 2021
Preceded by Roy Blunt
Chair of the Senate Democratic Steering Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Leader Chuck Schumer
Vice Chair Jeanne Shaheen
Preceded by Mark Begich
United States Senator
from Minnesota
Assumed office
January 3, 2007
Serving with Tina Smith
Preceded by Mark Dayton
County Attorney of Hennepin County
In office
January 5, 1999 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Michael Freeman
Succeeded by Michael Freeman
Personal details
Amy Jean Klobuchar

(1960-05-25) May 25, 1960 (age 64)
Plymouth, Minnesota, U.S.
Political party Democratic
John Bessler
(m. 1993)
Children 1
Relatives Jim Klobuchar (father)
Education Yale University (BA)
University of Chicago (JD)

Amy Jean Klobuchar (/ˈklbəʃɑːr/ kloh--shar; born May 25, 1960) is an American politician and lawyer serving as the senior United States senator from Minnesota, a seat she has held since 2007. A member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL), Minnesota's affiliate of the Democratic Party, she previously served as the county attorney of Hennepin County, Minnesota.

Born in Plymouth, Minnesota, Klobuchar graduated from Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School. She was a partner at two Minneapolis law firms before being elected county attorney of Hennepin County in 1998, making her responsible for all criminal prosecution in Minnesota's most populous county. Klobuchar was first elected to the Senate in 2006, succeeding Mark Dayton to become Minnesota's first elected female United States senator. She was reelected by a landslide in 2012, winning 85 of the state's 87 counties. Klobuchar was reelected again in 2018. In 2009 and 2010, she was described as a "rising star" in the Democratic Party.

Klobuchar's political positions align with modern liberalism. She has focused on healthcare reform, consumer protection, agriculture, and climate change. She is known for her folksy, Midwestern demeanor and ability to win in rural Minnesota.

On February 10, 2019, Klobuchar announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States in the 2020 election; on March 2, 2020, she suspended her campaign and endorsed Joe Biden. In 2021, she became the chair of the Senate Rules Committee.

Early life and education

Born in Plymouth, Minnesota, Klobuchar is the daughter of Rose (née Heuberger) and Jim Klobuchar. Her mother taught second grade until she retired at age 70. Her father Jim, a retired sportswriter and columnist for the Star Tribune, was of Slovene descent.

Klobuchar's parents divorced when she was 15. The divorce took a toll on the family; her relationship with her father was not fully restored until he quit drinking in the 1990s.

She attended public schools in Plymouth and was valedictorian at Wayzata High School, where she was also class treasurer and secretary. She received her Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude in political science in 1982 from Yale University. While at Yale, Klobuchar spent time as an intern for then-Vice President and former senator Walter Mondale. Her senior thesis, Uncovering the Dome, a 250-page history of the ten years of politics surrounding the building of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, was published by Waveland Press in 1986. After Yale, Klobuchar enrolled at the University of Chicago Law School, where she served as an associate editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and earned her Juris Doctor magna cum laude in 1985.

Early career

After law school, Klobuchar worked as a corporate lawyer. Before seeking public office, besides working as a prosecutor, Klobuchar was a partner at the Minnesota law firms Dorsey & Whitney and Gray Plant Mooty, where she specialized in "regulatory work in telecommunications law". Her first foray into politics came after she gave birth and was forced to leave the hospital 24 hours later, a situation exacerbated by the fact that Klobuchar's daughter, Abigail, was born with a disorder that prevented her from swallowing. The experience led Klobuchar to appear before the Minnesota State Legislature, advocating for a bill that would guarantee new mothers a 48-hour hospital stay. Minnesota passed the bill and President Clinton later made the policy federal law.

Klobuchar was first a candidate for public office in 1994 when she ran for Hennepin County attorney. But she had pledged to drop out if the incumbent, Michael Freeman, got back in the race after failing to win the endorsement of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor (DFL) Party for governor. Klobuchar quit the race in June 1994 and supported Freeman for reelection. Before running for office, Klobuchar was active in supporting DFL candidates, including Freeman in 1990. The county attorney election is nonpartisan, but Freeman, like Klobuchar, is a Democrat.

Klobuchar was elected Hennepin County attorney in 1998 (Freeman declined to run for another term) and was reelected in 2002 with no opposition. Minnesota Lawyer named her "Attorney of the Year". Klobuchar was President of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association from November 2002 to November 2003. After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody, Klobuchar was criticized for her lack of prosecution of police misconduct during her tenure, including a case involving the officer, Derek Chauvin, who was later found guilty of murdering Floyd. The case was not heard until after she left office.

Hennepin County attorney

Klobuchar was elected Hennepin County attorney in 1998, running after Freeman declined to seek an additional term. In the nonpartisan election, she defeated Republican Sheryl Ramstad Hvass by a margin of less than 1%. Klobuchar was reelected unopposed in 2002.

In 2001, Minnesota Lawyer named her "Attorney of the Year". Klobuchar was president of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association from November 2002 to November 2003.

..... Puckett was acquitted by a jury of all charges brought against him.

Klobuchar took a "tough-on-crime" approach. At the time she took office, there was a crime wave in Minneapolis, with the city's murder rate much higher than the national rate. Klobuchar had won election on the slogan "More Trials, More Convictions". She pursued heavier sentencing and less favorable plea deals, and sought to bring more cases to trial. By the end of her first year, she had significantly increased the number of cases brought and convictions secured. Under Klobuchar, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office prosecuted people for possession of khat. At the time, it was rare in the United States for prosecutors to pursue prosecution on such charges. Klobuchar also brought felony charges against a number of men for failure to pay child support.

Klobuchar pursued tougher sentencing in hopes of deterring crime. For some smaller offenses, such as vandalism, she regularly sought sentences that exceeded the recommended duration. This was true for both adult and minor defendants. For property crime offenders who had already received five convictions, Klobuchar's office similarly pursued longer sentences than had been recommended. Klobuchar declared that she intended to scrutinize judges who were "letting offenders off the hook too easily". In 2000, a successful appeal by Klobuchar lengthened by two days a sentence that a judge handed to an immigrant defendant, which placed the defendant at a greatly increased risk of deportation. The judge had delivered had been 364 days. A sentence of 365 days or greater was likely to lead to the defendant's deportation, and the two days that Klobuchar added to the sentence placed the defendant over that threshold. An analysis by the Vera Institute of Justice found that during Klobuchar's tenure, there was a 20% increase in the number of prison inmates in Hennepin County, which the analysis attributed to the harsher sentences Klobuchar sought.

During Klobuchar's tenure, the preexisting disparity of African Americans imprisoned at a greater rate than white people decreased in severity. But it remained pronounced, at quadruple the national average, per the Vera Institute of Justice.

Klobuchar successfully prosecuted teenage defendant Myron Burrell for the 2002 murder of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards by gunshot. Both Burrell and Edwards were African American. For much of her subsequent career, Klobuchar highlighted this case, framing it both as an example of her toughness on crime as well as an example of her fighting to provide justice for African-American communities affected by gun crime. Burrell remained steadfast in claiming that he was innocent. In late January 2020, during Klobuchar's presidential campaign, the Associated Press called attention to flaws in the case against Burrell, and quoted a co-defendant in the trial as having admitted that he, not Burrell, had actually fired the shot that killed Edwards. APM Reports also uncovered further consequential flaws with the case against Burrell. Due to these circumstances, his sentence was commuted by the Minnesota Board of Pardons in December 2020.

In 2004, Klobuchar supported the presidential campaign of U.S. senator John Kerry, traveling across Minnesota as a campaign surrogate.

Klobuchar did not prosecute any cases related to police brutality. During her tenure, Hennepin County saw 30 recorded police-involved deaths. Some of these deaths resulted in public controversy, but Klobuchar did not bring any charges. As was common practice at the time, especially in Minnesota, to determine whether to bring charges in such instances, Klobuchar relied on grand jury recommendations. Critics of her use of grand juries alleged that it lacked transparency and was perhaps a tactic for Klobuchar to distance herself from responsibility for the decisions made. After the 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody, renewed attention was brought to Klobuchar's tenure as Hennepin County Attorney. She was retrospectively criticized for not prosecuting police misconduct during her tenure. Attention was also brought to the fact that during Klobuchar's tenure an officer-involved killing had occurred that involved Officer Derek Chauvin, who was murdered Floyd. This killing did not result in prosecution. The killing occurred in October 2006, several months before Klobuchar left office, and a grand jury was empaneled by her successor (Freeman, who returned for a second stint as county attorney). The grand jury did not recommend any charges. This renewed scrutiny arose several months after Klobuchar concluded her presidential campaign, and while reporting had named her as a potential running mate of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

U.S. Senate



Female senators
Female senators of the 110th Congress, Klobuchar standing, second from the right, January 2007

In early 2005, after U.S. senator Mark Dayton announced that he would not seek reelection in 2006, Klobuchar became an early favorite for the DFL nomination. She had originally planned to run for attorney general of Minnesota, but was persuaded to run for Senate. Emily's List endorsed her on September 29, 2005, and Klobuchar won the DFL endorsement on June 9, 2006. She gained the support of the majority of DFL state legislators in Minnesota during the primaries. A poll of DFL state delegates showed Klobuchar beating her then closest opponent, Patty Wetterling, 66% to 15%. In January Wetterling dropped out of the race and endorsed Klobuchar. Former Senate candidate and prominent lawyer Mike Ciresi, who was widely seen as a serious potential DFL candidate, indicated in early February that he would not enter the race; that was viewed as an important boost for Klobuchar.

In the general election Klobuchar faced Republican candidate Mark Kennedy, Independence Party candidate Robert Fitzgerald, Constitution candidate Ben Powers, and Green Party candidate Michael Cavlan. Klobuchar led in the polls throughout the campaign, and won with 58% of the vote to Kennedy's 38% and Fitzgerald's 3%, carrying all but eight of Minnesota's 87 counties. She is the first woman to be elected U.S. senator from Minnesota. (Muriel Humphrey, the state's first female senator and former second lady of the United States, was appointed to fill her husband's unexpired term and not elected.)


Amy Klobuchar campaign IMG 1288 tower mn
Klobuchar's father, Jim, and supporters campaigning for Klobuchar as U.S. senator, Tower, Minnesota, July 4, 2012

Klobuchar won a second term in the U.S. Senate, defeating Republican state representative Kurt Bills by a margin of 35 percentage points (65.23% to 30.53%), carrying all but two counties.


Klobuchar ran for a third term and was reelected by a 24-point margin. The Republican nominee was state representative Jim Newberger. The race was not seen as close, with Klobuchar outraising Newberger $9.9 million to $210,066 as of October 17. Klobuchar maintained a double-digit lead in the polls all autumn.


A September 2009 poll found 58% of Minnesotans approved of the job Klobuchar was doing and 36% disapproved. On March 12, 2010, Rasmussen Reports indicated 67% of Minnesotans approved of the job she was doing. The Winona Daily News described her as a "rare politician who works across the aisle". Walter Mondale said, "She has done better in that miserable Senate than most people there."

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Klobuchar with Lindsey Graham and John McCain in Latvia in 2016

At the end of the 114th Congress in late 2016, Klobuchar had passed more legislation than any other senator. In February 2017 she called for an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate ties between Russia and President Donald Trump and his administration. Concern about Trump's ties to Russia increased after reports that his campaign officials had repeated contact with senior Russian intelligence officials before the 2016 United States elections. Klobuchar had already signaled her interest in U.S.–Russia relations in December 2016 when she joined Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham on a trip to the Baltic states and Ukraine. She maintained high approval ratings throughout 2017, with an April 2017 Star Tribune poll placing her approval rating at 72%. In October 2017 Morning Consult listed Klobuchar among the 10 senators with the highest approval ratings, and a November 2017 KSTP-TV poll put her approval rating at 56%. An April 2019 Morning Consult poll found Klobuchar to be the third-most popular sitting senator, with a 58% approval rating and 26% disapproval rating, behind only Vermont senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy.

According to the Center for Effective Lawmaking, Klobuchar scored "above expectations" with respect to how successful she was at moving significant legislation in the 115th Congress (2017–18).


In February 2019, BuzzFeed News reported that interviews with former staffers and reviews of emails indicated that Klobuchar frequently abused and humiliated her employees, requiring significant staff time to manage her ire. The article reported that other employees found her to be "fair and effective" and a good boss. Politico reported that Klobuchar had the highest annual staff turnover rate of any senator—36%—between 2011 and 2016. A Huffington Post article alleged she had a reputation for mistreating her staff, with some staff alleging she was prone to bursts of cruelty. In response to the negative reports, 61 former staffers wrote an open letter praising Klobuchar, stating that she was a caring "mentor and friend" to them.

In the 115th Congress, she was absent for 0.5% of votes, with two-thirds of the senators missing more votes. In the ongoing 116th Congress (Jan 2019–Jan 2021), during her campaign for president, as of January 2020, she missed 39.1% of votes, making her the 5th most absent member of the Senate.

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Klobuchar speaking at the inauguration of Joe Biden

Klobuchar was at the U.S. Capitol when Trump supporters stormed it on January 6, 2021. As ranking Democrat on the Senate Rules Committee, she and Senator Roy Blunt co-led Senate deliberations during the 2021 United States Electoral College vote count. She also served as a teller, along with Blunt, Representative Rodney Davis, and Representative Zoe Lofgren. After Senate Republicans, led by Senator Ted Cruz, objected to certifying Arizona's electoral votes, Klobuchar participated in the debate on the Senate floor. Shortly after she gave her remarks, the Capitol was breached. As the Senate adjourned, Klobuchar was alerted on her phone that shots were fired inside the Capitol, which she announced to those present. Immediately, Klobuchar, fellow senators, staff and journalists were evacuated from the chambers to a secure location. When the Capitol was secure, Congress reconvened and the election count was certified in the early morning of January 7. Klobuchar supported the certification. Later that day, Klobuchar said she supported the invocation of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution to remove Trump from office "because you cannot have a president basically leading an insurrection against our own country's government." She also called for investigations into the breach.

Klobuchar was the first speaker at Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20, 2021.

Committee assignments

117th Congress

In the 117th Congress, Klobuchar serves on the following standing committees:

  • Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
    • Subcommittee on Conservation, Climate, Forestry, and Natural Resources
    • Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research
    • Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy
  • Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
    • Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband
    • Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security
    • Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Maritime, Freight, and Ports
    • Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade, and Export Promotion
  • Committee on the Judiciary
    • Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights (chair)
    • Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism
    • Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety
    • Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law
  • Committee on Rules and Administration (chair)
  • Joint Committee on the Library (ex officio)
  • Joint Committee on Printing (ex officio)
  • Joint Economic Committee

116th Congress

In the 116th Congress, Klobuchar served on the following standing committees:

  • Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
    • Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources
    • Subcommittee on Livestock, Marketing and Agriculture Security
    • Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy
  • Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
  • Committee on the Judiciary
    • Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights (ranking member)
    • Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
    • Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration
    • Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights, and Federal Courts
  • Committee on Rules and Administration (ranking member)
  • Joint Committee on the Library (ex officio)
  • Joint Committee on Printing (ex officio)
  • Joint Economic Committee

Other Congresses

In her first Congress, the 110th Congress, Klobuchar was assigned to the following committees:

Caucus memberships

  • Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus

Role in the Democratic Party

On March 30, 2008, Klobuchar announced her endorsement of Senator Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary, promising her superdelegate vote to him. She cited his performance in the Minnesota caucuses, where he won with 66% of the popular vote, as well as her own "independent judgment". In 2016 she was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton's second campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Klobuchar has served as the chair of the U.S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee since 2015. She became the steering chair of the committee in 2017, with Bernie Sanders as the outreach chair. Both represented the Democratic Party in a 2017 televised debate on healthcare policy and the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act on CNN.

In 2020, Klobuchar was speculated to be a possible candidate for secretary of agriculture or United States attorney general in the Biden administration.

2020 presidential campaign

Amy Klobuchar with her husband John and daughter Abigail at her side, waves to the crowd after announcing her bid for the presidency at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota (46330801274)
Klobuchar (center) with her husband and daughter at her campaign announcement

The New York Times and The New Yorker named Klobuchar as one of the women most likely to become the first female president of the United States, and MSNBC and The New Yorker named her as a possible nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On February 10, 2019, Klobuchar announced her candidacy in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries. She has said that she uses humor as one way to distinguish herself among the many other Democratic candidates in the 2020 campaign.

On January 19, 2020, The New York Times editorial board endorsed Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren for president.

On March 2, 2020, the day before Super Tuesday, Klobuchar suspended her campaign and endorsed Joe Biden.

On May 21, 2020, it was reported that Biden asked several women, including Klobuchar, to undergo formal vetting for consideration as his vice-presidential running mate. On June 18, Klobuchar withdrew herself from consideration, saying that Biden should choose a woman of color.

Political positions

Klobuchar's political positions have generally been in line with modern American liberalism. ..... During the 115th Congress, she voted in line with President Donald Trump's position on legislation 31.1 percent of the time.

According to GovTrack, Klobuchar passed more legislation than any other senator by the end of the 114th Congress in late 2016. According to, as of December 16,  2018 (2018 -12-16), she had sponsored or co-sponsored 111 pieces of legislation that became law.

Personal life and family

In 1993, Klobuchar married John Bessler, a private practice attorney and a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law. They have a daughter who graduated from Yale University and worked as a legislative director for New York councilman Keith Powers.

Klobuchar is a member of the United Church of Christ and is a cousin of musician Zola Jesus.

In September 2021, Klobuchar revealed that she had been diagnosed with Stage 1A breast cancer in February 2021, that she had undergone a successful lumpectomy, and that in May she had completed a course of radiation treatment. In August, her doctors determined that the treatments had all been successful and she was cancer-free.

Klobuchar's grandparents were immigrants from Slovenia's White Carniola region. Her paternal grandfather was a miner on Minnesota's Iron Range. Amy's maternal grandparents emigrated from Switzerland to the United States.

Electoral history

Hennepin County attorney

1998 Hennepin County attorney election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Nonpartisan Amy Klobuchar 223,416 50.3%
Nonpartisan Sheryl Ramstad Hvass 219,676 49.4%
2002 Hennepin County attorney election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Nonpartisan Amy Klobuchar 380,632 98.7%
Write-in 4,829 1.3%

U.S. Senate

Note: The ±% column reflects the change in total number of votes won by each party from the previous election.

2006 United States Senate Democratic–Farmer–Labor primary election in Minnesota
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic (DFL) Amy Klobuchar 294,671 92.5%
Democratic (DFL) Darryl Stanton 23,872 7.5%
2006 United States Senate election in Minnesota
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic (DFL) Amy Klobuchar 1,278,849 58.1% +9.2%
Republican Mark Kennedy 835,653 37.9% -5.4%
Independence Robert Fitzgerald 71,194 3.2% -2.6%
Green Michael Cavlan 10,714 0.5% N/A
Constitution Ben Powers 5,408 0.3% -0.1%
Write-ins 954
Majority 443,196 20.2%
Turnout 2,202,772 70.6%
Democratic–Farmer–Labor hold Swing
2012 United States Senate Democratic–Farmer–Labor primary election in Minnesota
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic (DFL) Amy Klobuchar 183,766 90.8%
Democratic (DFL) Dick Franson 6,837 3.4%
Democratic (DFL) Jack Edward Shepard 6,632 3.3%
Democratic (DFL) Darryl Stanton 5,155 2.6%
2012 United States Senate election in Minnesota
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic (DFL) Amy Klobuchar (incumbent) 1,854,595 65.2% +7.1%
Republican Kurt Bills 867,974 30.5% -7.3%
Independence Stephen Williams 73,539 2.6% -0.6%
Grassroots Tim Davis 30,531 1.1% N/A
Minnesota Open Progressive Party Michael Cavlan 13,986 0.5% N/A
Write-ins 2,582
Majority 986,621 34.6% +14.4%
Turnout 2,843,207
Democratic–Farmer–Labor hold Swing
2018 United States Senate election in Minnesota
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic (DFL) Amy Klobuchar (incumbent) 1,566,174 60.3% -4.9%
Republican Jim Newberger 940,437 36.2% +5.7%
Legal ... Now Party Dennis Schuller 66,236 2.6% +2.6%
Green Paula Overby 23,101 0.9% +0.9%
Majority 625,737 24.1% -10.5%
Turnout 2,595,948
Democratic–Farmer–Labor hold Swing


Klobuchar has written four books. In 1986, she published Uncovering the Dome, a case study of the 10-year political struggle to build the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. In 2015, she published an autobiography, The Senator Next Door: A Memoir from the Heartland. In 2021, Antitrust: Taking on Monopoly Power from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age was published, a sprawling, 624-page historical overview of antitrust law in the United States, up to the current regulatory issues facing Big Tech, the American public, and the world. In 2023, she published The Joy of Politics.

Awards and honors

Klobuchar has received a number of awards during her career. ..... Working Mother named her a 2008 "Best in Congress" for her efforts on behalf of working families, and The American Prospect named her a "woman to watch".

In 2012, Klobuchar received the Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award at a special Great Outdoors Week celebration presented by the American Recreation Coalition. She was one of the recipients of the Agricultural Retailers Association's 2012 Legislator of the Year Award, alongside Republican representative John Mica. ..... Also, in 2013, she received a Friend of CACFP award for her leadership in passing the Healthy Hunger Free Kids act and her efforts to set new nutrition standards for all meals served in the CACFP by the National Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Sponsors Association. Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken received the 2014 Friends of Farm Bureau Award from the Minnesota branch of the American Farm Bureau Federation. She received the American Bar Association's Congressional Justice Award in 2015 for her efforts to protect vulnerable populations from violence, exploitation, and assault and to eliminate discrimination in the workplace. Also in 2015 the National Consumers League honored Klobuchar with the Trumpeter Award for her work "on regulation to strengthen consumer product safety legislation, on ensuring a fair and competitive marketplace, and increasing accessibility to communications, specifically in the wireless space". In 2016, she received the Goodwill Policymaker Award from Goodwill Industries for her commitment to the nonprofit sector and leading the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act. In 2017, she received the Arabella Babb Mansfield Award from the National Association of Women Lawyers and was chosen as the Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics for the Carrie Chapman Catt Center at Iowa State University. In 2021, Klobuchar received the Award for Distinguished Public Service from the Association of American Publishers.

See also

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