The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. On August 8, immediately after the back-to-back massacres in El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy, US Senator Amy Klobuchar released her plan to keep communities safe from the rising tide of domestic terrorism and hate crimes. This is from the Klobuchar campaign:
“The events of the last week have served as a disturbing reminder that hate crimes and domestic terrorism are on the rise in our country,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “As President, I will end the hateful rhetoric that has become all too routine during the Trump Administration and make combating domestic terrorism and hate-motivated violence a priority. We will strengthen enforcement against those who commit acts of hate – including white nationalist hate crimes – and work with law enforcement and communities around the country to increase protections and not only combat these threats, but to address the root causes of domestic terrorism.”
Senator Klobuchar has been taking on hate crimes and combating hate since she was the Hennepin County Attorney. She has seen firsthand the terrible trauma that hate crimes can inflict – not just on individual victims, but on whole communities. And because of her work on this issue as County Attorney, she was invited to the White House when President Bill Clinton proposed the Matthew Shepard federal hate crimes bill.
As County Attorney, she vigorously prosecuted hate crimes. Her office prosecuted defendants responsible for crimes against a 14-year-old boy who was shot while riding his bike on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a Minneapolis suburb because of the color of his skin, a Minneapolis middle school that was terrorized with burning crosses placed on its grounds, a Korean church in Minneapolis that was desecrated with spray-painted hate messages targeted against blacks, women and gays, and a Hispanic man who was assaulted and severely injured simply because he was speaking Spanish.
In the Senate, Senator Klobuchar has been a leader when it comes to combating hate. She supported the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and she has pushed to provide additional grant funding to safeguard all faith-based community centers and to protect religious institutions in the face of rising threats of violence. She has been a champion when it comes to securing federal resources to help heal distressed communities after hate crimes. She has also urged the Trump Administration to strengthen measures to combat the threat of white supremacist violence.
As President, Senator Klobuchar will take the following actions to combat hate and domestic terrorism:
Prioritize combating domestic terrorism
and empower law enforcement to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of
hate-motivated violence, including against minorities, people of color,
immigrants, and the LGBTQ community.
Direct the Department of Homeland
Security to resume its work tracking right wing extremism, including white
Require federal law enforcement agencies
to regularly assess the threat of domestic terrorism and increase training and
resources for state and local law enforcement to address it.
In addition to the gun safety proposals
the Senator has previously outlined, prevent people convicted of violent
misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing or possessing firearms.
Strengthen enforcement of hate crimes,
including white nationalist hate crimes.
Make lynching a federal hate
Work with Communities
Require the Justice Department and the
Department of Commerce to assess how current forms of communication are being
used to spread hate and recommend ways to combat threats.
Better coordinate efforts to focus on
combating domestic terrorism not only through law enforcement but also by
addressing the root causes of domestic terrorism.
Increase protections for places of
worship and schools.
Restore the Voting Rights Act protections
for voters immediately in states with a recent history of discrimination.
Fully staff and fund the Justice
Department’s Community Relations Service, which provides communities facing
racial and other conflict with services.
The vigorous contest of Democrats
seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy
proposals to address major issues. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s “Plan from the
Heartland” seeks to strengthen agricultural and rural communities. This is a
summary from the Klobuchar campaign:
MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Senator Amy Klobuchar is proposing a plan for America’s Heartland that will strengthen our agricultural and rural communities, bridge the rural-urban divide, and make sure that kids who grow up in rural America can stay in rural America. Senator Klobuchar knows that America’s prosperity depends on the success of our farmers and as a senior member of the Agriculture Committee, she’s been a champion for farmers and rural communities in the Senate. Her plan builds on her record of getting things done for rural America and as President, she will:
farmers. Our farmers are facing significant uncertainty as a result
of recent floods and other natural disasters, unprecedented market
consolidation, low commodity prices, and uncertainty surrounding market access
in some of our biggest export markets. As President, Senator Klobuchar would
invest in growth opportunities like renewables to raise farm incomes and create
good paying jobs, and maintain and expand critical safety nets.
Expand commodity support, disaster programs, and federal crop insurance for our small and family-owned farms. As a senior member of the Agriculture Committee, Senator Klobuchar worked to write and pass three farm bills with strong farm safety nets for our farmers. As President, Senator Klobuchar would push to index farm safety net support levels to reflect changes in our country’s cost of production, low commodity prices, and loss of global market access. She would also work to improve and fully fund permanent disaster programs and improve support levels, loan rates and program delivery. Senator Klobuchar also supports improving and expanding commodity support and federal crop insurance programs and increasing the average premium subsidy for crop insurance. And as dairy farms continue to close, Senator Klobuchar would convene a commission to immediately address the dairy crisis.
Strengthen the Animal Disease Vaccine Bank and prioritize crop and livestock health. Strengthening our agricultural disease prevention, surveillance, and response capabilities is critical to our farmers and livestock producers, as new emerging diseases like African Swine Fever could cause billions in damages should they reach the U.S. Senator Klobuchar understands that we need to be doing everything we can to prevent catastrophic disease outbreaks before they start, and if we do have an outbreak, we need to be prepared. She authored and passed provisions to create a disaster response program and a foot and mouth disease (FMD) vaccine bank to protect farmers against the next disease outbreak. As President, she will fully fund disease eradication programs, support new research, and push for additional emergency support for farmers, producers and ranchers impacted by agricultural diseases.
Ensure safety net programs are targeted to help family-owned and small farms and beginning farmers and make sure farmers know about all the available support programs. Senator Klobuchar has repeatedly led efforts to reform the farm support payment system, including an income cap on eligibility for commodity payments. As President, she will work to ensure payments are directed toward those who need them most, including small and family-owned farms. She would enforce the prohibition against artificial subdivision of farms to avoid limits and work to protect family farms from cuts scheduled under the terms of any budget act. Senator Klobuchar will support regional food systems and also create and expand programs that educate farmers on available programs and opportunities including by supporting existing outreach and extension programs through our land grant universities.
and drive job growth. With 95 percent of the world’s customers living
outside our borders, opening up new markets and lowering trade barriers is
critical to our agricultural and rural economy. Our farmers produce food, fuel,
feed, and fiber, and they need export markets where they can sell their
products. Senator Klobuchar will direct her administration to create a national
rural export strategy to coordinate efforts across agencies and review all
international tariffs in place as of 2021 and she will build on her work in the
Senate to continue to increase access for U.S. agriculture producers. In her
first 100 days as President, she will restart the President’s Export Council,
which brings together business, labor, and agricultural leaders with Members of
Congress and key Administration officials to help promote a comprehensive
export and trade strategy.
Invest in rural
infrastructure and transportation. Rural areas are a major focus of
Senator Klobuchar’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, and she will require a new
Infrastructure Financing Authority to make investments in rural areas. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will invest in the repair and improvement of rural
bridges that are not part of the federal-aid highway network and invest in the
Harbor Maintenance Trust fund to improve inland waterways and ports, including
funding for the Navigation and Ecosystem Restoration Program to modernize and
expand outdated locks and restore ecosystems along the Mississippi. She
will direct additional resources to help close the backlog in USDA’s Water and
Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. To keep rural and general aviation
airports strong, she will continue support for the Essential Air Service and
Airport Improvement Program.
Bring high-speed broadband to every household and business in America. Broadband creates jobs, opens new economic opportunities, and allows America to compete and succeed in an increasingly digital world, but roughly one in four rural Americans say access to high-speed internet is a major problem. In an effort to close the rural-urban divide, Senator Klobuchar has previously announced a commitment to connect every household in America to the internet by 2022. She will focus on creating accurate broadband maps to identify areas that lack adequate access, bringing high-speed internet infrastructure to areas most in need, including by expanding Rural Utility Service grants, and providing greater incentives for existing providers to upgrade their networks to cover unserved and underserved areas. She will also work to quickly implement the recommendations of the Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force to help farmers fully realize the potential of broadband in their operations.
Revitalizing freight and passenger rail. Railroads provide a vital link between rural communities and a cost-effective way for producers to bring their goods to market. As President, Senator Klobuchar will encourage investment in short-line and freight rail networks. She will also address safety concerns including two-man crews, better braking systems, and ensuring communities are prepared to respond to derailments involving hazardous cargo. She will also build on her work pushing for greater competition in freight markets by providing fair treatment for captive shippers, appointing well qualified members to the Surface Transportation Board, and reviewing and addressing consolidation in the freight rail industry. She is also committed to expanding Amtrak service in rural America.
opportunities for rural small businesses, entrepreneurs and beginning farmers. Rural America
is home to many innovators and entrepreneurs, but we need to do more to help
give them the tools they need to succeed and expand job opportunities in rural
areas. Senator Klobuchar will strengthen USDA programs that support
entrepreneurs like the Value-Added Producer Grants, Rural Microentrepreneur
Assistance Program, Intermediary Relending Program, and Agricultural Innovation
Centers. She will promote regional cooperation to facilitate economies of scale
among businesses, development organizations, government programs, and community
area anchor institutions. She will also fully implement and support the Farm
Bill provision restoring the USDA’s Under Secretary of Rural Development so
that rural development remains a top priority for the department.
Expand access to capital and loans for small and family-owned farms. Senator Klobuchar has worked successfully in the Senate to increase the caps on Farm Service Agency loans to ensure farmers and ranchers have access to the land and capital they need. As President, she will push to further increase the maximum loan amount that an individual farmer or rancher can receive under the direct farm ownership and operating loans, where some loans are reserved for beginning farmers. At the same time, Senator Klobuchar will work to increase the size of Farm Service Agency’s loan portfolio to ensure more farmers are able to access this critical lending source. She would also make sure that equipment updates — that allow farmers to take advantage of technology and innovation — are readily available and that loans and credit are targeted to small and family-owned farms.
Strengthen rural small business lending. Small businesses in rural areas face additional obstacles in accessing credit because many traditional lenders do not have the infrastructure and experience to effectively serve rural America. As President, Senator Klobuchar will expand and strengthen USDA’s Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program and the Rural Business Investment Program, which supports start-up of venture capital firms, and she will continue support for the Farm Credit System. She will continue to support sensible regulation of community banks and credit unions, which are important sources of credit for rural businesses. She will push to reauthorize the New Market Tax Credit and make sure it effectively serves rural America. She will also improve controls to ensure government programs designed for small businesses actually serve small businesses.
Support agricultural research. The Trump Administration has repeatedly proposed budgets for USDA that cut billions for rural development, conservation, and research. These include the forced closure of agricultural research laboratories and stations. In her first 100 days as President, Senator Klobuchar will re-open these laboratories and give these important programs the support they deserve. She will also publish all government-funded studies on climate change conducted by in-house scientists and in collaboration with land-grant universities. And she will halt the arbitrary relocation of USDA scientific agencies which has resulted in staff attrition and decreased capacity.
Support our new and beginning farmers. Senator Klobuchar believes if we want to continue to maintain our country’s agricultural strength and keep our rural communities vibrant, we need to do more to support our new and beginning farmers and ranchers. As a Senator she has authored several provisions that would expand loans and land transitions to beginning farmers. As President, she would push for a new tax credit for farmers who sell land or equipment to beginning farmers and expand assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers so that they have better access to land, capital, and risk management tools. Senator Klobuchar has also been a champion in the Senate for permanent mandatory funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, and as President she would continue to promote efforts with non-profit and university partners to provide farm business education and on-site trainings for beginning farmers.
workforce development to connect people to jobs and address workforce shortages. Senator
Klobuchar will address rural workforce shortages and close the skills gap by
promoting apprenticeships so students and workers can get on-the-job training.
She will direct her Secretary of Labor to analyze the use of apprenticeships
and expand apprenticeship opportunities and benefits in rural areas. Senator
Klobuchar is also committed to passing comprehensive immigration reform in the
first year of her presidency. Immigrants accounted for more than a third of
rural population growth from 2000 to 2018 and comprehensive immigration should
include providing a pathway to citizenship and updated policies that will help
rural communities get the workers they need when they need them.
Expand student loan forgiveness to help our farmers. Senator Klobuchar has proposed a loan forgiveness program — modeled after the public service loan forgiveness program — that would forgive federal student loan debt for in-demand occupations that will include farmers and people who choose careers in agriculture.
Competition and Concentration. The concentration across
agricultural markets and steep decline in family farms have resulted in an
increasingly anti-competitive industry. Senator Klobuchar is committed to
reducing barriers for family farmers and promoting fair, transparent practices
that increase competition.
Taking on consolidation. Senator Klobuchar will look at large acquisitions and mergers in the agriculture industry that have already happened and assess whether the integration of services insulate agricultural corporations from competition. She will also make sure that our antitrust agencies have the resources they need to aggressively enforce our antitrust laws. And she will give antitrust agencies and courts the legal tools necessary to promote competition by updating legal standards, shifting the burden of proof for mega-mergers to the merging parties to show that their transactions do not reduce competition, clarifying that existing antitrust laws should take into account more than price and should consider vertical integration, harms to innovation, and monopsony, where a buyer has the power to reduce wages or the prices it pays for agricultural products. As President, Senator Klobuchar would also require the USDA to collect and publish concentration information in agricultural markets and allow the USDA to participate in the review of proposed mergers in the agricultural sector. As President, her Administration would thoroughly review our agriculture laws and assess their application in an environment with increased market concentration.
Support strong enforcement by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The CFTC budget has stagnated in recent years making it difficult for the commission to do its job. Senator Klobuchar will provide the CFTC with the resources to make sure our commodity markets work, encourage the commission to put the needs of farmers first in all of its decisions, and move aggressively to stop price manipulation in energy and other markets.
Restore staffing levels at the Department of Agriculture. Under the first two years of the Trump Administration, between December 2016 and March 2018, USDA had more staff departures than any other federal agency. This has severely impacted USDA’s ability to carry out its mission on behalf of rural communities and farmers. During her first 100 days as President, Senator Klobuchar will restore staffing levels to the appropriate levels. She will also stop politically-motivated relocations that result in the loss of critical agency expertise.
2. LIVING IN
health care and saving our rural hospitals. As President,
Senator Klobuchar would revise our Medicare rules to help rural hospitals stay
open, provide expanded support to our critical access hospital and community
health centers, over half of which are located in rural areas, and dramatically
expand telehealth services. To address rural workforce shortages, she will
build on the Conrad 30 program that allows international doctors trained in the
United States to extend their stay in the country if they agree to practice in
underserved communities. To further bolster the health care workforce Senator
Klobuchar will expand student loan forgiveness programs for health care and
long term care workers practicing in underserved areas. She will also reform
Medicare telehealth rules that unfairly limit coverage and reimbursement.
Preserve and strengthen rural hospitals. Over 100 rural hospitals have closed since 2010 and more than more than a third of rural hospitals, providing care to almost 12 million Americans, are at risk of closing. As President, Senator Klobuchar will help hospitals in rural areas stay open by creating a new Rural Emergency Hospital classification under Medicare to give hospitals more support if they maintain an emergency room and provide outpatient services.
Provide sustainable reimbursements for rural health care providers. Today, inadequate reimbursement from federal health programs that do not take into account the additional costs of rural health providers puts significant pressure on the rural health care system. Senator Klobuchar will adjust Medicare’s geographic practice cost index to reflect the actual costs of providing health care in rural areas. She will also provide ongoing financial relief by ending the two percent Medicare automatic reimbursement cut for rural hospitals.
Tackle rural mental health and addiction. Mental health and addiction services are often lacking in rural areas where accessibility, availability, affordability and acceptability may be limited. For example, 65 percent of non-metropolitan counties do not have a psychiatrist and almost half of non-metropolitan counties do not have a psychologist. As President, Senator Klobuchar will strengthen mental health and addiction programs in rural America by investing in and expanding the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, tackling the opioid epidemic and increasing access to mental health and substance use care, including support for clinics and community-based services, as well as technical support and telehealth services. She will address the challenge of farmer suicide, while also focusing on recruitment, retention, training and workplace protections for the mental health and substance use health care workforce in rural areas and our hardest hit communities.
education and public schools. On average, rural districts receive
just under 20 percent of state education funding and have smaller student
populations, so they’re often disadvantaged by funding formulas. And higher
transportation costs for students who live in rural areas can often mean even
less money for instruction. As part of her previously announced “Progress
Partnerships” Senator Klobuchar will help improve rural schools by encouraging
states to create funding formula commissions to improve equity and establish
equitable school infrastructure funding mechanism.
Empower community colleges to be community hubs for economic development and workforce training. In many rural areas, local community colleges provide key economic development and workforce training resources for the community. Senator Klobuchar will work to better integrate federal business and workforce development programs with local community colleges building on the Small Business Administration’s successful Small Business Development Centers.
Invest in land-grant universities agricultural research. Recognizing the long standing contributions of our land-grant universities to innovation and development in agriculture, as well as their central role in their communities, Senator Klobuchar will also expand resources available to these schools for capital projects, research and extension programs.
care and energy costs and expand access to affordable housing. Many Americans
want to live and work in rural communities but cannot find an affordable place
to live. More than 50 million Americans live in rural areas with a severe need
for more affordable rental housing. Senator Klobuchar will strengthen rural rental
assistance programs, increase investments in the rural housing supply. We also
need to cut red tape and improve communication among local, state, and federal
officials so renters, communities, and developers have access to information
about the programs available in rural America. Senator Klobuchar will also
strengthen protections for mobile home owners.
Directly address the challenge of rural child care: Rural communities experience unique challenges when it comes to child care, as nearly two-thirds of rural families live in a child care desert, or an area where there are at least three young children for every licensed child care slot — or no licensed child care providers at all. As President, Senator Klobuchar would expand assistance for child care, with a focus on rural areas by increasing funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and increasing the subsidy rate so that rural child care providers can more easily meet their operating expenses and increase the quality of their programs. She would also work to pass a landmark childcare proposal limiting child care payments to 7 percent of a family’s income and making targeted investments to build the supply of licensed child care in rural child care deserts.
Make energy costs affordable. Recognizing that rural households pay a significantly higher share of their income on energy costs than the national rate, Senator Klobuchar will also will preserve and expand resources for LIHEAP and the Weatherization Assistance Program, which helps households in need reduce energy spending. Senator Klobuchar is a strong supporter of the Rural Energy for America program and Rural Energy Savings program so that farmers and rural communities can access renewable energy solutions that lower their costs.
3. PROTECTING OUR
conservation practices. Senator Klobuchar has been a champion of
supporting farmer conservation efforts and promoting farming practices that
reduce soil erosion and improve air and water quality, including by helping
pass the 2018 Farm Bill, which included several of her priorities. As
President, she will support significant new investments in conservation of
working and retired lands. Senator Klobuchar will support the continued
expansion of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and increase
resources for the Conservation Stewardship Program to help provide farmers the
tools they need to protect and enhance natural resources on working
agricultural lands. And after successfully increasing the acreage cap of the
Conservation Reserve Program, Senator Klobuchar will work to attract more
enrollees and ensure payment rates are fair.
Protect native sod and improve soil health. Senator
Klobuchar pushed for provision in the 2018 Farm Bill that closed a
loophole allowing some non-insured crops to be planted four consecutive
years without a reduction in crop insurance assistance for succeeding
insured crops. As President, she will expand nationwide the sodsaver’s
prohibition to substitute crop insurance yields on native sod that is converted
to cropland. She will also expand the Soil
Health and Income Protection Pilot Program to
help provide farmers an alternative to cropping less productive cropland.
Invest in conservation innovation. Senator
Klobuchar will target research into soil carbon sequestration, which could
improve soil health as well as reduce carbon levels in the atmosphere. She
will also expand Conservation Innovation Grants to test emerging
conservation approaches, including practices that increase carbon
sequestration levels. And building on provisions she included in the 2018
farm bill, Senator Klobuchar will further improve agriculture data
research of conservation practices to help farmers reduce risk and
Investing in and
providing incentives for homegrown energy. Senator Klobuchar believes that
homegrown biofuels are key to our rural economies, our nation’s energy
security, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In the Senate, she has been a
leader when it comes to standing up to the Administration’s misuse of small
refinery renewable fuel standard (RFS) waivers. She has also worked successfully
in the Senate to provide financing and grant support to biobased manufacturers.
She authored an amendment that was included in the Farm Bill that provides
mandatory funding to support biobased marketing, manufacturing.
Strengthen the RFS. As President, Senator
Klobuchar will work with the EPA to continue and strengthen the RFS.
Continuing to increase the required blend levels will add value to farm
products, reduce the use of fossil fuels, and contribute to better air
End the overuse of secret RFS small refinery waivers. In the
first 100 days of her presidency, Senator Klobuchar has pledged to end the
misguided overuse of secret RFS small refinery waivers that have been
granted to big oil companies at the expense of farmers. As President, she
will take action to increase transparency in the waiver application
process and to make sure that the market for Renewable Identification
Numbers accurately accounts for the overuse of small refinery
Promote the use of blender pumps. In addition,
Senator Klobuchar will promote and invest in blender pump infrastructure
by restarting and building upon USDA’s Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership,
providing consumers more refueling choice and supporting the transition
away from fossil fuels.
Pass a statute to ensure year-round E15 sales. After
successfully pushing for the administration to allow for the year-round
sale of E15, Senator Klobuchar will also advance legislation that would
allow for year-round E15 sales to remove regulatory uncertainty and help
reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.
Extend biodiesel and second generation biofuels tax credits. Senator
Klobuchar has long championed tax credits for renewable energy and as
President she will push to extend biodiesel and second generation biofuels
Invest in wind
and solar and support rural energy development. Clean energy,
including wind and solar, is a major driver of job growth in rural areas. In
fact, 99 percent of operating wind capacity is located in rural areas. A part
of Senator Klobuchar’s plan to tackle climate change, she will prioritize rural
energy development, including expanding storage capacity and strengthening our
energy grid is critical for continuing to scale up renewable energy. Senator
Klobuchar will invest in interregional transmission lines and grid improvements
to support the development of renewable energy and establish a Clean Energy
bond program to expand clean energy tax incentives. And as President, Senator
Klobuchar will launch a grant program to help rural cooperatives develop energy
storage and microgrid projects for renewable energy for generation,
transmission and storage. She will also support increased investment in small,
distributed wind, solar and biogas projects.
efficiency programs. Energy costs can be a significant burden on farms,
small businesses and households in rural communities. Senator Klobuchar has
long worked to see that the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) has the
resources needed to provide grants to farms and rural businesses to install
energy efficient technologies, and she will continue to push for additional
lands. Federal lands are integral to many rural economies. Senator
Klobuchar is committed to preserving these lands for future generations
including by restoring environmental protections repealed by the Trump
Administration. She will also make sure that rural counties that host
tax-exempt federal lands will receive their payments in-lieu of taxes in a
predictable and uninterrupted manner.
4. LEAVING NO ONE BEHIND
poverty in rural areas. According to the Department of Agriculture, poverty
rates in rural America are still higher than in urban areas, and one in five
rural households with children face food insecurity. As part of her plan to cut
childhood poverty in half within ten years, Senator Klobuchar will expand the
earned income tax credit, the child care tax credit, and SNAP benefits and make
housing choice vouchers available to every qualifying household with a
Meeting the nutrition needs of our most vulnerable citizens. As a
member of the Agriculture Committee, Senator Klobuchar has always pushed
for a strong nutrition title in the Farm Bill. As President, she will make
sure that nutrition programs are there for families when they need them,
while also strengthening employment and training programs that help get
people back into the workforce. She will oppose efforts to institute
draconian and ineffective work requirements and reverse the harmful
rulemakings that the Trump Administration has proposed that would force
millions of families, elderly, and veterans out of nutrition programs.
Overcoming persistent poverty. Senator
Klobuchar supports Congressman Jim Clyburn’s 10-20-30 proposal, which would
require that a minimum of 10% of federal funds of a particular program go
to persistent poverty communities, where the poverty level has been 20% or
higher over the past 30 years.
Rural Veterans. Roughly one in
four U.S. veterans live in rural areas, and many face challenges accessing
health care and affordable housing. Building on her strong track record of
supporting veterans, including our veterans in rural areas, Senator Klobuchar
will focus on ensuring our veterans receive the support they deserve. As
President, she will work to attract medical professionals to VA health care
facilities in rural areas, invest in VA telehealth services and expand
transportation options for our veterans. In addition, she will expand programs
to connect veterans in rural areas to affordable housing and invest in programs
that tackle veterans homelessness.
in bankruptcy. In many regions, farm bankruptcy rates are reaching their
highest point in a decade due to persistently low commodity prices, economic
uncertainty and tight farm lending regulations. As President, Senator Klobuchar
will work to allow more family farmers to seek relief under Chapter 12
bankruptcy, which would allow family farmers to reorganize and keep the farm
after falling on hard times. This builds off of Senator Klobuchar’s bipartisan
legislation that recently passed the Senate and House. She will also promote
support programs and education for farmers so they are familiar with sound farm
management principles in an effort to reduce foreclosure rates.
discrimination and empower communities of color. People of color
make up one in five Americans living in rural areas, but too often systemic
racism limits their contributions to rural economies. Senator Klobuchar will
instruct all federal agencies to aggressively enforce anti-discrimination rules
when it comes to housing, education, employment and wages. She will strengthen
USDA’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, increase diversity
in senior leadership positions at USDA, and develop better metrics to
accurately reflect the impact of USDA programs of people of color. She will
also increase rural outreach by the Minority Business Development
Administration to help minority businesses overcome social and economic
Partner with Native American tribes. Senator Klobuchar is committed to partnering with Native American tribes in rural areas. As President, she will end the Trump Administration’s attacks on tribal sovereignty and increase meaningful tribal consultation. She will fully support the Indian Health Service and build on her work to provide resources for tribal schools. She will work to expand broadband deployment on tribal lands including working to restore the Tribal Lifeline program, which the Trump Administration has tried to eliminate. She will also direct the USDA to increase support for tribal agricultural needs.
Supporting rural seniors. Older Americans who live in rural areas can be isolated, with fewer transportation options and limited access to other important services like transportation, health care, and affordable housing. As President, Senator Klobuchar will make sure her USDA and other federal agencies are investing in housing, health care, transportation and nutrition programs for our country’s rural seniors. She will support generous tax-credits and programs that allow seniors to remain and age in their homes as long as possible, with a focus on promoting affordable housing and long-term care options.
vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has
produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Amy
Klobuchar’s plan to address the need for affordable housing seeks to bridge the
rural-urban divide, expand housing opportunities and revitalize neglected
neighborhoods. This is a summary from the Klobuchar campaign:
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Senator Klobuchar is proposing a plan to bridge the rural-urban divide, expand affordable housing opportunities and revitalize neglected neighborhoods.
Stable and affordable housing is out of reach for too many American families. Both rural and urban areas struggle with a shortage of affordable rental housing, homelessness and neglected neighborhoods. Racial disparities and discrimination persist in housing and many families face significant obstacles to buying a home. As President, Senator Klobuchar will tackle these challenges to make a safe and affordable home a reality for more Americans.
Expanding Access to Justice and Fighting Discrimination
Provide access to counsel. Senator Klobuchar will create a
new federal grant program with the goal of eliminating the unmet need when
it comes to providing access to counsel in
civil cases involving basic human needs, which means providing counsel for
people who are dealing with evictions, being denied
access to health care and having wages unfairly taken.
Prohibit landlords from unfairly discriminating against
Klobuchar will ban all landlords from discriminating against people based
on their income, including housing vouchers or disability
benefits. She will also protect renters by preventing the blacklisting of
people who have been to court over eviction or discrimination on the basis
of sexual orientation, gender identity, or veterans status.
Combat segregation in housing. Senator Klobuchar will suspend
the Trump Administration’s proposals to weaken fair housing rules. As
previously announced, in her first 100 days as President Senator Klobuchar
will suspend the Trump Administration’s attempts to weaken
efforts to combat segregation in housing by modifying the Affirmatively
Furthering Fair Housing Rule.
Reinstate the Office of Fair Lending and Opportunity’s
enforcement and oversight powers. The Trump Administration has significantly weakened the Office
of Fair Lending and Opportunity, stripping the
office of its ability to ensure fair and equitable access to credit. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will restore all enforcement and oversight
powers to the Office of Fair Lending and Opportunity to monitor
fair lending practices and coordinate with the Department of Justice to
prevent lending discrimination before it happens.
Addressing the Rural Housing Crisis
Increase affordable rental housing in rural communities. 54 million Americans live in rural
areas with a severe need for more affordable rental housing. Senator
Klobuchar will strengthen rural rental assistance programs and
significantly increase investments in the rural housing supply, which
includes expanding affordable housing programs serving Native Americans.
Improve access to information about rural housing programs. To take advantage of federal
support for new rural housing, developers must first know about the
programs available to them. Senator Klobuchar will improve training for state,
local and federal agencies so communities and developers can better access
housing opportunities. Senator Klobuchar will also improve and expand
programs that provide technical assistance to rural nonprofits to connect
rural communities with resources to develop housing.
Encourage innovative strategies to attract private investment. Senator Klobuchar will use the
loan purchasing power of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ask lenders to
create new ways to meet the mortgage credit needs for rural markets based on
evidence from their existing portfolio data. Senator Klobuchar will also
provide incentives for community financial development institutions to
provide access to credit in rural communities using the expertise of local
Increasing Access to Affordable Housing
Invest in Housing Choice Vouchers. The Housing Choice Voucher
program helps provide the stable homes families need to succeed, but
demand far exceeds the number of vouchers available. Senator Klobuchar
will make a major investment to make vouchers available to all qualifying
households with children.
Promote effective zoning rules. Outdated zoning rules can make
it harder to build affordable housing in many areas. Some cities are
beginning to update their zoning policies through initiatives like
Minneapolis 2040 to increase affordable housing opportunities. Senator
Klobuchar will prioritize areas that have updated their zoning rules when
awarding federal housing and infrastructure grants.
Give renters access to emergency funds for rent. The path toward eviction can
start with an unexpected emergency expense. As she has previously
announced, Senator Klobuchar will work to create innovative, portable
personal savings accounts called UP Accounts that can be used for retirement and
emergencies — including non-routine expenses like rent payments in
situations like a lapse in earnings, a car accident, or family leave. [This
proposal is modeled after the Saving for the Future Act, which was introduced by Senators Coons and Klobuchar.] Under
her plan, employers will set aside at least 50 cents per hour worked,
helping a worker build more than $600,000 in wealth over the course of a
Support housing for people with disabilities. Senator Klobuchar will
strengthen housing programs that assist people with disabilities. She will
also invest in the successful Housing Opportunities for Persons with
Promote climate change mitigation and resilience. Residential buildings are a
significant source of carbon emissions. Senator Klobuchar will ensure that
all federal housing programs implement strong standards to reduce carbon
emissions and she will invest in retrofitting so existing housing
is more energy efficient.
Providing Access to Opportunity
Encourage mobility for renters. An effective way to break the cycle of
poverty is to move to a neighborhood that provides greater opportunity. Senator Klobuchar will expand the pilot for mobility housing
vouchers that allows families to use their vouchers in higher opportunity
neighborhoods. She will expand incentives to encourage relocation and work
with regional and federal housing agencies to reduce obstacles
that can make these relocations difficult.
Increase the supply of affordable housing in high opportunity
neighborhoods. The Low-Income
Housing Tax Credit is a critical tool for developing affordable rental
housing. Senator Klobuchar
will push to expand the current allocations to support the construction of
additional units. She will also work to encourage construction in high
Reduce homelessness. Over half a million Americans
experience homelessness every night. Senator Klobuchar will make a major
investment in homeless assistance grants that provide emergency and
long-term housing and build on her work in the Senate increasing access to
case management services like counseling and job training. This also means
addressing the unique challenges of specific homeless populations
including those living in rural areas, domestic violence victims, and the
Help seniors age in place. By 2040, one in five Americans
will be over 65, but the current supply of rental housing is not equipped for
this Silver Surge. In the first 100 days of her Administration, Senator
Klobuchar will reverse the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to
federal housing subsidies that could triple rent for some households and
would be particularly harmful for seniors. In addition, she will update
regulations for reverse mortgages to make sure seniors have access to safe
products that make it easier to stay in their homes, as well as expand
support for affordable senior housing. She will direct affordable housing
programs to allow retrofitting of rental housing and encourage a share of
new rental housing to be built in a senior friendly way.
Increasing Access to Homeownership
Revitalize and build value in neglected neighborhoods. In some neighborhoods,
neglected properties make investments to improve living conditions or
build property value economically infeasible. Neighboring blighted and
abandoned properties further reduce the possibility of investment, leading to
downward spiral. Senator Klobuchar will advocate for a new federal tax
credit, similar to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, to encourage
investment in family-owned homes in distressed neighborhoods.
Promote homeownership through down payment assistance and
credit development. Saving for a downpayment and building a credit
history are two of the largest obstacles new homebuyers face. Senator
Klobuchar will build on programs that allow certain types of rental
housing assistance to be used for home ownership expenses. She will also
work to pass legislation that expands access to capital for down payments
and makes it easier to build a credit history by allowing credit bureaus
to use on-time payment data from cell phone bills, utilities, and rent in
calculating credit scores.
Protect the Community Reinvestment Act. During the first 100 days of her
presidency, Senator Klobuchar will direct financial regulators to
Reinvestment Act protections,
develop policies to encourage financial institutions to make loans and
investment in local communities, especially communities in need, and
conduct greater outreach to assess the true credit needs of certain areas.
Improve education for homebuyers. Buying a
home can be confusing, especially for first-time homebuyers. Senator
Klobuchar will strengthen federal homebuyer education programs including
targeted programs for communities with low levels of homeownership.
To pay for these policies, Senator Klobuchar will raise the capital
gains rate to the income tax rate for households making over $400,000, and as
announced in her infrastructure plan, which included plans for housing, raising
the corporate tax rate to 25%.
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s plan for Seniors tackles Alzheimer’s, enhances health care and retirement security and reduces prescription drug costs. This is a summary from the Klobuchar campaign:
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Senator Amy Klobuchar released her policy priorities for seniors. Building on her leadership in the Senate when it comes
to lowering the cost of prescription drugs and addressing the challenges our
seniors face, Senator Klobuchar is proposing a bold plan to tackle Alzheimer’s
disease and other forms of dementia, enhance health care and retirement
security, reduce skyrocketing prescription drug costs and combat senior fraud
and abuse. As President, Senator Klobuchar will continue to stand up for our
seniors and the 10,000 Americans who turn 65 each day.
“Everywhere I go, I meet seniors who tell me about their struggles to afford
everyday costs like prescription drugs or health care,” said Senator
Amy Klobuchar. “I meet family members who face challenges
caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s and urgent action is needed to take on
these problems. I believe we owe it to our seniors to make sure they have the
care and support they need as they get older, and as President I will
prioritize tackling Alzheimer’s, strengthening health care and retirement
security, and reducing prescription drug costs.”
caregivers for those living with Alzheimer’s and other chronic conditions.
Senator Klobuchar has been a leader when it comes to supporting people affected
by Alzheimer’s and their families. As President, she will support expanding
resources for health care providers to expand training and support services for
families and caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s disease or other
forms of dementia as well as other chronic conditions, improving caregiver
well-being and health, as well as allowing patients to stay in their homes
it easier for people with Alzheimer’s and their families to get the medical
care they need. Medicare is an essential resource for people
affected by Alzheimer’s, but many patients and their families are unaware of
the resources and coverage available when it comes to Alzheimer’s. Senator
Klobuchar will take action to expand Medicare covered services for Alzheimer’s
and she will expand efforts to make patients and their families aware of the
care-planning and services that are covered. She will also support an ongoing
investment in public health infrastructure for Alzheimer’s that reduces risk,
improves early detection and diagnosis, and focuses on tribal, rural, minority,
and other underserved populations.
the National Institutes of Health and invest in research for chronic conditions.
While the current administration has proposed draconian cuts to lifesaving
research, Senator Klobuchar will bolster research at the National Institutes of
Health and increase investments in research into cancer, including breast
cancer, which the Senator has long supported, and other chronic conditions. And
Senator Klobuchar will also invest in research into health disparities.
Significant and persistent disparities exist in health outcomes for minority
populations in the United States. When it comes to healthy aging, research has
shown divides based on race, wealth, and education. Senator Klobuchar will
invest in research across the federal government into the causes of these
disparities and how they can be reduced.
in Alzheimer’s research.
Senator Klobuchar will commit to preventing, treating and facilitating a cure
for Alzheimer’s disease, with the goal of putting us on a path toward
developing a cure and treatment by 2025. To support researchers, she will make
sure that funding is reliable and consistent. Since African Americans and the
Latino community will represent nearly 40 percent of the 8.4 million American
families affected by Alzheimer’s disease by 2030, Senator Klobuchar will
increase federal research into disparities in the incidents and outcomes of
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Improve mental health care for seniors. Senator Klobuchar is committed to making mental health a priority, including for our seniors. As part of her recently released mental health plan, she will expand access to mental health treatment for seniors and expand depression treatment and suicide prevention efforts that focus on seniors.
Implement and extend Kevin and Avonte’s law and expand dementia training. Senator Klobuchar introduced bipartisan legislation signed into law last year that helps families locate missing people with forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, or developmental disabilities, such as autism. As President, Senator Klobuchar will make sure the program is fully implemented and she will also establish federal partnerships with state and local governments to provide dementia training for public sector workers who interact with seniors.
Ensure a Secure Retirement
Protect Social Security and make sure it is fair. Social Security has served as a stable and secure retirement guarantee for generations of Americans. Senator Klobuchar believes that this program must remain solvent for generations to come and she will fight against risky schemes to privatize it. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to lift the Social Security payroll cap. Currently the payroll tax only applies to wages up to $133,000. Senator Klobuchar supports subjecting income above $250,000 to the payroll tax and extending the solvency of Social Security. And Senator Klobuchar will make sure people are treated fairly by the current Social Security system. As President, she will work to strengthen and improve Social Security benefits for widows and people who took significant time out of the paid workforce to care for their children, aging parents, or sick family members.
Expand retirement savings. Senator Klobuchar believes all Americans deserve a secure retirement. As she has previously announced, Senator Klobuchar will work to create innovative, portable personal savings accounts called Up Accounts that can be used for retirement and emergencies by establishing a minimum employer contribution to a savings plan. [ This proposal is modeled after the Saving for the Future Act, which was introduced by Senators Coons and Klobuchar.] Under her plan, employers will set aside at least 50 cents per hour worked, helping a worker build more than $600,000 in wealth over the course of a career. And Senator Klobuchar will work to reduce disparities when it comes to retirement savings. According to a recent study, the median wealth for white families was more than $134,000, but for African American families it was just $11,000.
Defend pensions. Senator Klobuchar has been a leader in the Senate when it comes to keeping our pension promises. As President, she will support legislation to ensure retirees can keep the pensions they have earned and, in her first 100 days, she will recommend that Treasury heighten the scrutiny of any applications to reduce retiree benefits under the Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014.
Improve Health Care for Seniors and Lower Prescription Drug Costs
Unleash the power of 43 million seniors in Medicare Part D to negotiate better drug prices. Seniors should have access to their medicines at the lowest possible prices. As President, Senator Klobuchar will push to allow the government to directly negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare Part D, building on legislation she has led in the Senate.
Take immediate and aggressive action to lower prescription drug prices, including allowing personal importation from countries like Canada and crack down on “Pay-for-Delay” agreements. Senator Klobuchar has been a leading advocate for reducing the price of prescription drugs for seniors, including by helping close the Medicare Part D donut hole and introducing legislation to increase competition and require Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. As President, during her first 100 days she will allow for the personal importation of prescription drugs from safe countries like Canada and crack down on “Pay-for-Delay” agreements that increase the cost of prescription drugs.
Strengthen Medicare and provide incentives for getting the best quality health care at the best price. Senator Klobuchar opposes cuts and risky schemes to privatize Medicare and will take action to strengthen Medicare and find solutions so it remains solvent. She will improve Medicare for current beneficiaries by reforming payment policies through measures like site neutral payments and providing incentives for getting the best quality health care at the best price, including bundled payments and telehealth.
Expand coverage for dental, vision and hearing under Medicare. Dental, vision, and hearing care should be covered as part of Medicare. Senator Klobuchar will support new Medicare coverage for these services that makes them affordable for all seniors.
Expand telehealth and rural health services and maintain rural hospitals. In the Senate, Senator Klobuchar has championed policies that ensure seniors who want to stay in their homes and communities can do so. As President, she will promote remote monitoring technology and telehealth services in Medicare and other programs that improve the quality of life and expand access to quality home care and emergency hospital services in rural areas. As President, she would work to create a new Rural Emergency Hospital classification under Medicare to help rural hospitals stay open and provide expanded support to our critical access hospitals.
Invest in Long-Term Care
Create a refundable tax credit to offset long-term care costs. Senator Klobuchar will work with Congress to establish a new refundable tax credit to help offset the costs of long-term care. The credit will be available for qualifying long-term care costs including both nursing facility care and home- and community-based services, and additional expenses like assistive technologies, respite care, and necessary home modifications. The credit will be targeted towards those who are most in need of support. Senator Klobuchar will also stand up to efforts to cap Medicaid spending, which would put services like mental health care, transportation costs, and long-term care at risk for millions of Americans.
Reduce the costs of long-term care insurance and increase access. Senator Klobuchar believes seniors and their adult children must have the resources they need to prepare for long-term care, including education about the types of services available. To reduce the costs of long-term care, Senator Klobuchar will propose a new targeted tax credit equal to 20 percent of the premium costs of qualified long-term care insurance. Senator Klobuchar will also establish incentives and make it easier for employers to offer their employees long-term care insurance on an opt-out basis. In addition, she will explore updating federal policies to combine long-term care policies with life insurance.
Provide financial relief to caregivers and ensure paid family leave for all Americans, including those who care for elderly or disabled relatives. Senator Klobuchar is proposing a tax credit of up to $6,000 a year to provide financial relief to those caring for an aging relative or a relative with a disability to help offset expenses, including the cost of medical care, counseling and training, lodging away from home, adult day care, assistive technologies, and necessary home modifications. As President, Senator Klobuchar will also support legislation to provide paid family leave to all Americans so no one has to sacrifice a paycheck to care for someone they love, including an elderly parent.
Support a world class long-term care workforce, increase long-term care options, and tackle disparities in long-term care. Senator Klobuchar believes we must invest in and address shortages in our long-term care workforce. She is committed to increasing wages, improving job conditions and promoting other recruitment and retention policies, especially in rural communities facing workforce challenges. She will also support training for long-term care workers and new loan forgiveness programs for in-demand occupations that includes our long-term care workers. In addition, she will expand long-term care facilities and beds as well as home care and telehealth services. Research also suggests that there are significant racial and ethnic disparities in the quality of long-term care as well as disparities in coverage for long-term care. Senator Klobuchar is committed to tackling disparities in care through expanding access to long-term care with a focus on reducing inequities as well as addressing the costs of long-term care services for people in the greatest need of assistance.
Reduce Costs and Prevent Fraud
Fight senior fraud and elder abuse. As a prosecutor, Senator Klobuchar created a senior protection unit at the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. And she has always believed that we need strong safeguards to prevent and address fraud, abuse and exploitation of our seniors, and has led and passed multiple bills in the Senate that would strengthen these safeguards. Within her first 100 days as President, she will establish a new senior fraud prevention office to educate consumers, expedite the handling of complaints, and coordinate prevention efforts across the federal government. Senator Klobuchar will stregthen enforcement of age discrimination laws, and she will also take action to tackle elder abuse, strengthen oversight and accountability for court-appointed guardians, support training for employees at long-term care facilities, and increase tracking of incidents and investigations to help prevent and better respond to elder abuse.
Improve access to affordable housing, transit, and nutrition for seniors and expand workforce opportunities. In the first 100 days of her Administration, Senator Klobuchar will reverse the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to federal housing subsidies that could triple rent for some households and would be particularly harmful for seniors. In addition, she will update regulations for reverse mortgages to make sure seniors have access to safe products that make it easier to stay in their homes, as well as expand support for affordable senior housing. Senator Klobuchar is also committed to expanding transportation programs and services for older adults, particularly in rural and underserved populations. She also supports expanding resources for Meals on Wheels, helping the food bank system serve seniors in need, and launching a national effort to increase enrollment among seniors in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Senator Klobuchar will also work to expand workforce and training opportunities for older Americans who are looking to remain in and return to the workforce.
Help seniors afford their energy costs: Senator Klobuchar strongly opposes efforts by the Trump Administration to eliminate funding for programs like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps seniors afford heating and cooling. As President, Senator Klobuchar’s budget will preserve and expand resources for LIHEAP and the Weatherization Assistance Program, which helps households in need reduce energy spending, and she will support new efforts to help seniors with their energy costs.
To pay for these policies, Senator Klobuchar will close the trust fund loopholes that allow the wealthy to avoid paying taxes on inherited wealth.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Senator Klobuchar’s mom taught second grade until she was 70 years and she was also a proud teachers’ union member who walked the picket line in the 1951 teachers’ strike. As the daughter of a teacher and union member, Senator Klobuchar understands that a good education is a basic right of every child and that all Americans should have the educational opportunities they need to succeed in today’s economy.
During the presidential campaign, Senator Klobuchar has announced plans to fully fund education and our schools, make a historic investment in increasing teacher pay, close the opportunity gap, fully fund the IDEA, boost STEM education and apprenticeship opportunities, and rebuild our crumbling school infrastructure.
In addition to her already announced plans, Senator Klobuchar is announcing at the 2019 National Education Association Presidential Forum an additional proposal — new federal-state school “Progress Partnerships” that will allow states to take aggressive action to support our students. These partnerships are designed to elevate the voices of our educators and they will provide additional resources to help states take bold action to fund our public schools, support our teachers, and prioritize learning.
Increase teacher pay: States will agree to a
state-federal partnership with a generous federal match to increase salaries
for all teachers, as well as recommendations that address unique state needs
when it comes to the teacher pipeline, such as recruitment, retention,
diversity of the workforce, and quality of teacher preparation. State educators
should be included in the development of these plans.
Adapt high school curricula to improve workforce
readiness and post-secondary success: State education departments, working
with educators, will evaluate student career and college readiness, including
coursework, curriculum and other policies that prepare students for today’s
workforce and post-secondary success.
Establish an equitable school infrastructure funding
mechanism: In addition to receiving generous direct federal funding for school infrastructure
improvements, states will create a mechanism for distributing
federal school infrastructure funding that addresses disparities in conditions
and resources and ensures equity in funding for construction and repairs of
school buildings across the state.
Submit recommendations to align school services and
schedules with the needs of working families: States will work with
educators to develop and submit recommendations on how schools can meet the
needs of working families, which could include low-cost after-school programs,
alternative programs for students on days when schools are closed, and a
community school model that wraps other community services in the school
building to make schools into community hubs.
Convene a commission to review the state’s existing
funding formula to improve equity: States will review the existing funding
formula to ensure that all students, particularly those with the greatest need,
have access to adequate educational resources. The commission must include
professional educators and develop recommendations for improving state
education funding equity, which will be published biennially along with an
assessment of state progress.
As part of her plan for her first 100 days as President,
Senator Klobuchar will also:
Reduce racial disparities in disciplining students.
Senator Klobuchar will re-issue guidance directing schools to reduce racial
disparities in how they discipline students, which prompted more than 50 of
America’s largest school districts to institute discipline reform.
Fully fund the IDEA and reinstate the guidance protecting
the rights of students with disabilities. Senator Klobuchar’s budget will
fully fund IDEA to support students with disabilities. In addition, Senator
Klobuchar will reinstate documents protecting the rights of students with
disabilities after Secretary DeVos rescinded 72 guidance documents outlining
Prevent the expansion of private school vouchers.
Senator Klobuchar will stand firmly with our public schools and end discussions
of Secretary Betsy DeVos’s $50 billion proposal to fund private school
Restore protections for the LGBTQ community. Senator
Klobuchar will reverse the harmful anti-LGBTQ administrative actions taken by
the Trump Administration when it comes to education, health care and civil
rights, and she will work to pass the Equality Act in year one of her
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, spoke for 23 minutes in frigid 14 degree temperature (feeling like 4 degrees), in a thick snowfall, without hat or gloves, in front of hundreds of supporters on Boom Island who had stood for hours to hear her declare her candidacy for President. Already, with an unprecedented number of women running for Election 2020, the tone is different, as Klobuchar raised issues of child care, universal health care, lower prescription drug prices, gun violence prevention, climate action, criminal justice reform, fair wages and taxes, the need for diplomacy and international alliances as key.
Here are highlights from her speech declaring
her run for President:
Prosperity shared leads
to better lives for all. [America is] a beacon for democracy, one in which
every one matters. We start in this place…
[Recalling when the
deteriorating I 35W Bridge over the Mississippi collapsed, killing 13 and
injuring 145, and the first responders dove in to try to save them, a wake-up call
to the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure.] A bridge shouldn’t fall down in
America..Suddenly the eyes of a nation are on our state. The nation saw in
visceral way that everyone matters. Later, I worked across the aisle and
rebuilt that I 35 bridge- that’s community shared, a story or ordinary people
doing extraordinary things.
That sense of community is fracturing across the
nation, worn down by the petty and vicious nature of our politics. We are tired
of shutdowns, showdowns, gridlock and grandstanding. Today, in this snowy day,
on this island, we say enough is enough
Our nation must be governed not from chaos, but
opportunity, not by wallowing over what’s wrong, but marching inexorably to
It starts with all of us.
My family story – both on
my Mom and Dad’s side, arrived in this country with nothing but a suitcase.
They made a home here.
Like so many immigrants
they wanted a better life for their family. My grandfather worked 1500 ft below
ground mining. My Dad – now age 90 – got a two-year degree, then finished at
University of Minnesota and became a journalist. As a young AP reporter, he
called the 1960 race for JFK, interviewed everyone from Reagan to Ginger Rogers.
Freedom of the press wasn’t some abstract idea to my dad; he embraced it, lived
My Mom, a proud union member,
taught 2nd grade in the suburbs until she was 70 years old, her
students still come up and say she was their favorite.
On this island in the middle of mighty Mississippi,
in nation’s heartland, at a time when we must heal the heart of democracy and
renew our commitment to common good, I stand before you, as granddaughter of
iron ore miner, a daughter of newspaper man, the first woman elected to US Senate
from the state of Minnesota, to announce my candidacy for president of the United
I am running for this job for everyone who wants
their work recognized and rewarded, for every parent who wants a better world
for their kids, for every student who wants a good education, for every senior
who wants affordable prescription drug, for every worker, farmer, dreamer,
builder, for every American, I am running for you.
And I promise you this,
as your president, I will look you in the eye, tell you what I think, focus
on getting things done, that’s what I have done my whole life. And no matter
what, I will lead from the heart.
Let me blunt.
For too long leaders in Washington have sat on
sidelines while others tried to figure out about changing economy, impact on
our lives, disruptive nature of new technology, income inequality, political
and geographic divides, changing climate, tumult in the world.
Stop seeing these as
obstacles on our path – let’s see obstacles as
This is what I mean.
There are insidious
forces every day trying to make it hard to vote, drown out voices with big
money – time to organize, galvanize, take back our democracy. It’s time America.
It’s time to pass a
constitutional amendment to overturn
Citizens United and get dark money out of our politics.
It’s time to stop
discriminatory action by restoring the
Voting Rights Act. Time to pass my bill to automatically every young person
to vote when they turn 18.
The obstacle they are
throwing at us with big money, obstacles to voting, are obstacles but also our
path – as Paul Wellstone would tell us, it’s how we organize.
Here’s another: Climate change. The people are on our
side – because like you and I, they believe in science.
That’s why in the first 100 days of my
administration I will reinstate the Clean Power rules and the gas mileage
standards and put forth sweeping legislation to invest in green jobs and infrastructure.
And on Day 1 we will rejoin the International
The obstacles, they are
Another challenge: Way
too many politicians have their head stuck in the sand when it comes to the digital revolution. It’s not coming,
it’s here. If you don’t know the difference between a hack and slack, it’s time
to pull off the digital highway.
What would I do? Put
some digital rules of the road into law
when it comes to people’s privacy.
For too long big tech
companies have been telling you, ‘Don’t worry, we have your back’ while your
identities are being stolen, your data being mined. Our laws have to be as
sophisticated as those who are breaking them.
I would guarantee net neutrality for all; connect
the digital divide by 2022 – that means you, Rural America. If they can do it
in Iceland we can do it here.
Train our workers today for the jobs of
tomorrow, strengthen economy for what’s ahead– strengthening certifications, 2 year degrees, make it easier to
And comprehensive immigration reform. It is time America.
Close those tax loopholes designed by and for
the wealthy and bring down our debt and make it easier for workers to afford child
care, housing and education – that is what I mean by shared prosperity.
But we can’t get there
if people can’t afford their health care – that means getting to universal health care, and bringing down
the cost of prescription drugs.
Last week, my guest at
the State of the Union, here with us today, Nicole Smith Colt. Her 26 year old
son Alec, aged off his parents’ insurance just 3 days short of payday. A
diabetic, he couldn’t afford insulin, a simple drug that’s been around for
nearly a century. He tried rationing but it didn’t work, and he died. This
disgrace should never happen in the United States of America today.
The obstacle to change?
Big Pharma. Well, they don’t own me and they don’t own Nicole.
We are teaming up to pass meaningful legislation,
to bring in cheaper drugs from other countries, stop keeping generics off
market – harness the negotiating power of 43 million seniors, lift the ban on negotiating
cheaper prices under Medicare.
I’ve always believed in
doing my job without fear or favor – that’s what I do as a senator, what I did
as a prosecutor – convicting the guilty, protecting the innocent.
It’s why I have and
always will advocate for criminal justice reform.
And, in a state where we
all value hunting and fishing and the great outdoors, I am not afraid to join the
vast majority of Americans, including many gun owners to stand up to gun lobby and put universal background checks and commonsense
gun legislation into law. It is time America.
Even if we isolate from
the rest of world, the rest of world won’t let you – international problems
come banging at the door just as opportunities come knocking.
We must stand consistently with our allies, be clear
in our purpose, respect our front line troops, diplomats and intelligence
officers, who are there every day risking their lives for us. They deserve
better than foreign policy by tweet/
And one last obstacle we
must overcome: To move forward together, stop
the fear-mongering and stop the hate. We may come from different places, pray
in different ways, look different, love differently but we all live in the same
country of shared dreams.
In Minnesota, we have
the biggest Somali population in the country and we are proud of that
community. A few years ago, at the height of angry rhetoric, a Somali family of
4 went to dinner. A guy passing by said, ‘You four go home where you came from.’
The little girl said, ‘Mom, I don’t want to go home. You said we could eat out
for dinner out tonight.’ You think of the innocent words of that little girl – she
only knows one home, our state, one home, the United States.
Walt Whitman, the great
American poet, said: I hear America singing the very carols I hear.” For
Whitman, those were the songs of the mechanics, carpenters, masons, shoemakers,
and those carols are still being sung today – that is also the song of our
sisters and brothers, a chorus of different races, creeds, way of life.
E plurbus unum – out of many is one.
It is more than a motto,
America – it is the North Star of our democracy. It is the North Star of our
I am asking you to join
this campaign – it is a homegrown one.
I don’t have a political
machine, I don’t come from money, but what I do have is this: I have grit.
I have family, I have
friends, I have neighbors and have all of you who are willing to come out in
the middle of winter, who took the time to watch today from home, willing to
stand up and say people matter.
I am asking you not to
look down, not to look away. I am asking you to look up, at each other, the
future before us, let us rise to the
occasion and meet the challenges of our day – cross the river of our divides
and walk across a sturdy bridge to higher ground.
As one faith leader
reminded me: to pursue the good we must believe that good will prevail.
I do believe it, and so
Let’s join together as
one nation, one nation, indivisible, under God and pursue the good.