Amy Klobuchar on Families & Children

DFL Sr Senator (MN); Democratic presidential contender


Mental health courts avoid "revolving door" criminals

I am a big believer in drug courts. Both when I was the D.A. and then also when I got to the Senate, I've led the efforts on federal drug courts to get funding, and we finally have federal drug courts.

For me, this is personal. When I was growing up, my dad struggled with alcoholism. By the time my husband and I got married, my dad had his third DWI, and that's when the judge said, "That's it; it's going to be treatment or jail." And my dad chose treatment. And because that treatment was available, in his words, he was pursued by grace. Because of his faith and his family and that treatment, he is now 91 and he's sober. I think that having mental health courts so that when people come in, you don't want to be as a prosecutor, you're not like a business. You don't want to see repeat customers. How do you get people off of that? One, mental health courts are a good idea. Two, drug courts and having treatment available. Three, looking at sentencing.

Source: CNN S. C. Town Hall for 2020 Presidential primary , Feb 26, 2020

Universal childcare will help small businesses

I was thinking of your question about small businesses. The small businesses I talked to, they have trouble getting employees because their employees don't have childcare. We should have universal childcare.
Source: 9th Democrat 2020 primary debate, in Las Vegas Nevada , Feb 19, 2020

Investment in childcare and pre-school

I've put together a plan to reduce child poverty in half in 10 years and eradicate it in a generation. We can do it with investment in childcare. We can do it with investment in preschool and school and we can do it with tax credits and we can get it done. But to get it done, we have to be able to reach those voters that we lost in this state and across the country.
Source: 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate, St. Anselm College in NH , Feb 7, 2020

Three months paid family leave, but be fiscally responsible

Q: No parent is federally guaranteed a single day of paid leave when they have a baby. Senator Klobuchar, you're proposing three months.

KLOBUCHAR: What I have done with all my plans is I have shown how I'm going to pay for them. I think that is important when we have a president who has told 10,000 lies. I am not going to go for things just because they sound good. We have an obligation to be fiscally responsible, yes, think big, but make sure we are honest with them about what we can pay for.

Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta , Nov 20, 2019

We need to talk about aging population, long term care

Sen. Bernie SANDERS: On the Medicare for All bill, premiums are gone, co-payments are gone, deductibles are gone. All out of pocket expenses are gone. The overwhelming majority of people will save money on their healthcare bills.

Mayor Pete BUTTIGIEG: I don't think the American people are wrong when they say that what they want is a choice. Why unnecessarily divide this country over healthcare when there's a better way to deliver coverage for all?

KLOBUCHAR: What really bothers me about this discussion, which we've had so many times, is that we don't talk about the things that I'm hearing about from regular Americans: long term care. We are seeing, I once called it a silver tsunami, the aging, and then someone told me that was too negative. So, I call it the silver surge, the aging of the population. We need to make it easier to get long term care insurance and strengthen Medicaid.

Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

Churches & agencies should follow law on gay rights

Q: Evangelicals are claiming being forced to do business with gay people infringes upon their religious freedom. Isn't our religious freedom being violated by those who wish to discriminate against us?

KLOBUCHAR: First of all, our Constitution has been founded on a separation of church and state. And we can have different faiths in this country, but the law rules. And the law rules when it comes to discrimination and all kinds of other things. And I can just tell you that I will appoint Supreme Court justices that understand that.

Q: Should the federal government give funding to any religious nonprofit organizations that opposes same-sex marriage, for example, an adoption agency that won't work with LGBTQ parents?

KLOBUCHAR: I think that you have got to have agencies that follow the law. And that's one of the reasons that I want to pass the Equality Act. I think that's really important. And I also think that you've got to recognize adoption for gay families.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

Make it easier for LGBTQ couples to adopt

I head up the Adoption Caucus in the U.S. Senate and did a lot of work on this topic when I was county attorney to speed up adoptions. And there are so many loving gay, LGBTQ couples that want to adopt kids, and we should make it easier and not harder.
Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

Do what science tells us on obesity: more info on labels

Q: Sen. Kamala Harris says she supports adjusting dietary guidelines, formally changing what we tell Americans they should eat. Would you do that?

KLOBUCHAR: I would do what the science tells us. And I think we all know there's an issue with obesity in this country, we have to do more--I've been a huge supporter of putting calories on the menus, and--so people can be empowered to make decisions on their own. This administration has defied science every step of the way--we have to make sure we look at science and we make sure we do everything that's healthy, not just for individual Americans but also for our environment.

Q: As a senator from an agricultural state that produces large amounts of cheese and beef, can you to take on the beef and dairy industries?

KLOBUCHAR: I am hopeful that we're going to be able to do this in a way that we can continue to have hamburgers and cheese. But understand that there are many people that choose to eat vegan and that is great too.

Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats) , Sep 4, 2019

Supports broad paid family and medical leave plans

Klobuchar supports broad paid family and medical leave plans.

15 CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Michael Bennet; Cory Booker; Peter Buttigieg; Julian Castro; John Delaney; Tulsi Gabbard; Kirsten Gillibrand; Kamala Harris; John Hickenlooper; Jay Inslee; Seth Moulton; Beto O`Rourke; Tim Ryan; Bernard Sanders; Elizabeth Warren.

The congressional plan creates a universal, gender-neutral, national paid family and medical leave program allowing for up to 12 weeks of paid leave.

Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues" , Jul 17, 2019

1996 AdWatch: my daughter endorses 48 hour stay for new moms

[Republican opponent Mark] Kennedy and I broadcast our first TV ads in July 2006, we launched one about my role in helping to pass the 1996 Minnesota law requiring hospitals to offer new moms and their babies a minimum forty-eight hour stay. Political ads nearly always end with that familiar message from the candidate: "I approve this message." But for this commercial we added a new feature to the boilerplate closing: our smiling daughter. Abigail, who had just celebrated her tenth birthday, was shown in several shots twirling around as she walked down the street. At the end of the ad's filming, she spontaneously held up her two thumbs as I said, "I'm Amy Klobuchar and I approve this message." The image became her trademark.
Source: AdWatch of 2008/2006 in The Senator Next Door, p. 205-6 , Aug 24, 2015

Daughter's "drive-by birth" inspired 48-hour maternal stay

[In my daughter] Abigail's "drive-by birth," I was forced by insurance rules to leave the hospital after 24 hours with no sleep and a sick baby in intensive care. As John wheeled me out of the hospital door that night--dizzy, sacred, exhausted, and still in pain--I asked him whether he thought this would be happening to the wife of an insurance company executive under these same circumstances. Answering my own question, I told him I didn't think so.

Once Abigail's health began slowly improving, I spent a lot of time thinking about what had happened and decided that I didn't want any other mom to go through what I had experienced. I became determined to change the policy. I went to the state legislature and worked to pass one of the first laws in the country guaranteeing new moms and their babies a minimum 48-hour hospital stay. I testified in support of the bill before both houses of the legislature.

The 48-hour maternity hospital stay rule became law on March 20, 1996.

Source: The Senator Next Door, by Amy Klobuchar, p.122-3 , Aug 24, 2015

Allow adoption of older kids to keep siblings together

The Merkouris family of Cambridge, Minnesota, had the unimaginable dream of adopting nine sisters and brothers from the Philippines. The kids' story was tragic: their mom had died, and all nine children were put in an orphanage. When the two oldest children turned 16 and 17, they became ineligible for adoption in the US.

The Merkourises was ready for these nine kids. But the law was inflexible and it required the Merkourises to make a painful decision. There was only one solution: the law had to be changed. They brought their case to me.

I led the bill to change the adoption restriction, and in the end we were able to pass legislation that allows 16- and 17-year-old kids from other countries to be adopted if they have a younger sibling who is also being adopted. The International Adoption Simplification Act meant that after years of waiting, thousands of kids, including the children of the Merkouris family adopted, would be able to come to the US to loving parents.

Source: The Senator Next Door, by Amy Klobuchar, p.247-8 , Aug 24, 2015

Strengthen Family and Medical Leave Act

I will fight to get working families the flexibility they need to care for their children without losing their jobs. No parent should have to choose between a paycheck and being with their child at a critical time. I support the Family and Medical Leave Act and oppose the current Administration’s efforts to weaken this important law.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues” , Jan 18, 2006

More funding & services for victims of domestic violence.

Klobuchar co-sponsored Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act

Introduction by co-sponsor Sen. Kay Hagan (D,NC):
We have a serious responsibility to ensure that women and families are protected. The rates of violence and abuse in our country are astounding and totally unacceptable: domestic violence affects more than 12 million people each year. In my home state, 73 women and children are killed on average every year because of domestic violence.

Since 1994, the STOP Program has provided grants for services, training, officers, and prosecutors, and has transformed our criminal justice system and victim support services. And this bill includes the bipartisan SAFER Act, which helps fund audits of untested DNA evidence and reduces this backlog of rape kits. I ask you: What other victims in America have to identify the attacker before authorities will take action? None.Introduction by Sen. Chuck Grassley(R,IA):
I urge my Republican colleagues, as I will do, to support the motion to proceed. There has long been bipartisan support for the Violence Against Women Act. Too many women are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence. There is overwhelming bipartisan support for 98% of what is contained in S. 47. [Since our negative vote last session], controversial provisions have been removed. The key stumbling block to enacting a bill at this time is the provision concerning Indian tribal courts. Negotiations are continuing, and compromises would allow the bill to pass with overwhelming bipartisan support. Introduction by Sen. Pat Leahy (D,VT):
Our bill will allow services to get to those in the LGBT community who have had trouble accessing services in the past. The rates of domestic and sexual violence in these communities are equal to or greater than those of the general population. We also have key improvements for immigrant victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Source: S.47/H.R.11 13-S0047 on Jan 22, 2013

Sponsored recognition of National Foster Care Month.

Klobuchar signed Recognizing National Foster Care Month

RESOLUTION recognizing National Foster Care Month as an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges of children in the foster care system, and encouraging Congress to implement policy to improve the lives of children in the foster care system.

Source: H.Res.577/S.Res.442 14_SRes442 on May 13, 2014

Other candidates on Families & Children: Amy Klobuchar on other issues:
MN Gubernatorial:
Chris Coleman
Erin Murphy
Jeff Johnson
Lori Swanson
Mark Dayton
Matt Dean
Michelle Benson
Mike Murphy
Paul Gazelka
Rebecca Otto
Scott Jensen
Tim Pawlenty
Tim Walz
Tina Liebling
Tina Smith
MN Senatorial:
Jason Lewis
Jim Newberger
Karin Housley
Paula Overby
Steve Carlson
Tina Smith

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