by Dennis Dalman
In a quick unanimous motion, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was endorsed for a second run as senator at the Minnesota Democratic Convention last weekend in Rochester.
She will face off in the November election against the Republican candidate, Rep. Kurt Bills, who was enthusiastically endorsed by the Republicans at their state convention in St. Cloud two weeks ago (see related story). Bills, of Rosemount, is a high school economics teacher.
U.S. senators serve terms of six years. Klobuchar was elected in 2006, running against Mark Kennedy, and garnered 58 percent of the statewide vote. A resident of Plymouth, Klobuchar, 52, is the first female senator from Minnesota and one of 17 females serving in the U.S. Senate. She is a former prosecutor with degrees from Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School.
At the convention in Rochester, she was endorsed unanimously by 1,100 delegates.
In her convention speech, Klobuchar said she had learned how to “work across the aisle” to get things done with the help of some Republicans. Among her accomplishments, she said, are her successful efforts to get funding to build a new 35W bridge in Minneapolis, restoring benefits to National Guard members, improvements to the health-care system and ongoing efforts to keep student debt down, to bring about new ways of helping veterans and to make health care accessible and affordable for all people.
Klobuchar and her husband, John Bessler, have one daughter, Abigail, who is a high school junior. Bessler is a law professor at the University of Baltimore.
At the convention at the Mayo Center in Rochester, Gov. Mark Dayton received a standing ovation. He and other speakers emphasized the importance of trying to regain control of Minnesota’s House and Senate from the Republicans, partly to avoid the spectre of another statewide government shutdown. Last year, the government shut down for 20 days because of a legislative impasse between Republicans and Democrats.
Speakers also underlined the importance of defeating two proposed amendments in the next election — an effort to require photo IDs for all voters and an amendment that would define marriage as only between a man and a woman.
Another theme that surfaced often at the convention is the danger of voter complacency on the part of Democrats. Complacency, the failure to vote, speakers noted, is the surest way to lose elections.