Amy Klobuchar, '85: Madam Senator
The first woman elected by Minnesotans to serve as a U.S Senator is also notable for currently being the highest-ranking female elected federal official to graduate from the University of Chicago Law School. In November of 2006, Amy Klobuchar, ’85 won a U.S. Senate seat by one of the widest margins seen in a Minnesota senatorial race in nearly two decades, pledging to bring "Minnesota common sense" to Washington. Carol Moseley Braun, '72 is the only other female Law School grad to hold the title of U.S. Senator. Six male graduates have been U.S. Senators including John Ashcroft, ’67.
With family roots on northern Minnesota’s Iron Range, Senator Klobuchar grew up in a Twin Cities suburb. After graduating from the Law School, she returned to Minnesota to practice law at the firms of Dorsey & Whitney and Gray Plant Mooty and worked closely with former Vice President and Senator Walter F. Mondale. In 1998, she was elected as Hennepin County Attorney and re-elected to a second term without opposition.
As County Attorney, Klobuchar made the prosecution of violent and career criminals her top priority. During her tenure, her office secured nearly 300 homicide convictions and was among the departments credited with lowering crime in the region. Klobuchar’s leadership is reflected not only in the wide variety of community organizations she served as a volunteer but also in her position as president of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association to which fellow prosecutors elected her in 2002.
Klobuchar has spoken about her role as Senator both in the context of being female and as a Senator following in the footsteps of other great Minnesotans.
Minneapolis’ Star Tribune reported that while attending a state fair, Klobuchar said, an elderly woman in a walker had come up to her and said she'd been waiting more than half a century for Minnesota to send a woman to the Senate. "I thought, this is the burden of history," Klobuchar said. "It's exciting."
Senator Klobuchar has also commented on being inspired by Minnesotan Hubert Humphrey—she strives for the same hope and optimism that Humphrey displayed. She is inspired in particular by a quote from Humphrey which happens to be inscribed on his gravestone: “I have loved my country in a way that some people consider sentimental and out of style. I still do and I remain an optimist with joy, without apology about this country and about the American experiment in democracy.”