Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Coffee with Sen. Amy

I was fortunate to be amongst a small group of individuals who had an opportunity to visit with Senator Klobuchar over a Dark Roast, at Dunn Brothers, Tuesday. The Senator took a moment to list some of her accomplishments in her early portion of her term:
* Minimum wage: first increase since the 80s.
* This freshman class pushed through ethics reform
* Finally passed the 9/11 Commission recommendations
* Education reform
* Mental health parity bill: it's taken 6 years to pass this.
* Hate crimes: it's taken 5 years to pass this.
* They passed a renewable energy bill, blocking a Republican filibuster that requires 50% of all vehicles be flex-fuel by 2015. She worked to get this passed.
* They've passed legislation to better take care of vets, better fund the VA.
* They reestablished a Truman Commission to provide accountability to the money being spent in Iraq. $1 out of ever six spent in Iraq has been lost.
* She's voted for the Feingold-Reid Amendment for real timelines in Iraq. Republicans blocked it with a threat of a filibuster.
* She voted for the Webb Amendment twice.

She didn't even mention the cell phone legislation, toy legislation and pool safety legislation which are all commendable efforts. She's also been really busy with all the disasters in MN. The bridge collapse and flooding has taken up a considerable amount of her time.
It is clear why the Senator is receiving the highest approvals since Wellstone's February 2002 rating. She is sincerely concerned about what she can do to help Minnesotans first.

The Senator also was aware of the backlash from those on the Left who felt scorned by her votes on FISA and Iraq. She was not at all afraid to address those concerns head on. You'll see in the video the prosecutor in her. Sen. Klobuchar was willing to go along with this brief, 6 month, extension due to the "15,000' univestigated tips. She stated "I don't defend that deal, I didn't negotiate that deal, and I think it should have been much better". She went on to explain some of the intricacies of the legislation which made it better for us to understand her take on the issue.

She continued; "I believe it was what we needed to do at the time. We take these votes that won't make everyone happy, but people have to understand my main focus here is to balance the need for getting the information and civil liberties. And I do think there is a much better way to do that."

She did make it clear that the permanent legislation WILL have to go through the Senate Judiciary committee, unlike the temporary extension. She also stated she will not vote for an additional extension, placing the pressure on Congress and the administration to get a permanent piece of legislation in place.

This does point out the need to balance Statesmanship, getting things down, with partisanship, remaining loyal to ones ideology. Joe at MNCampaign report shares:
She gave what one might call a balanced answer: it depends on the issue. She cited the energy standards bill passed earlier this year (which raised fuel efficiency standards for the first time in many years) as an example where compromise got things done -- she would have preferred higher fuel efficiency standards, but the bill represented an important move in the right direction.
There was only four of us there, and I thank Joe Bodell of MNCR/MN Monitor for including me in this first of what hopes to be other conversations with the Senator as she traverse the delicate balance on the hill.


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