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Others’ opinion: Klobuchar strikes right chord for future success

The Free Press, Mankato
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

A hard-working, forthright, intelligent senator from the Midwest got just what she needed for national recognition in the presidential primary: People of an East Coast state who paid attention.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s emergence to a top-three position in New Hampshire gave her campaign a needed boost. More significant: One strong performance in a debate moved so many voters. Who she beat (Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren) was more important than who she lost to (Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.)

Once New Hampshire voters got to see and hear Klobuchar, they seemed charged up. That’s a rare reaction in a political environment that is mostly toxic. That cause and effect seems likely to take Klobuchar to places where the pundits say she cannot go. It may carry her over hills the pundits say she cannot climb.

Minnesotans of course have known her electoral success strategy for years. Visit every county. Listen to the disparate voices in each. Form ideas about what policies might serve everyone and execute those policies with research and evidence of what works.

Klobuchar’s story is a good one and it doesn’t have to be embellished. Her grandfather worked in Minnesota iron mines. That family worked hard to send her father to a community college in Minnesota, where access to higher education for all classes has been a tradition.

Her father, longtime Star Tribune columnist Jim Klobuchar, captured the essence of Minnesotans in his column every week for years. We’re sure he shared his stories with his daughter, who eventually made it into Yale Law School.

Klobuchar’s government experience is substantial. After some years as a private lawyer, she became Hennepin County Attorney, running the biggest prosecutor’s office in the state.

She then became the first woman ever elected to the Senate from Minnesota. Her record there has maybe not been flashy, but it’s been workmanlike as she got bipartisan support on many policies and programs that matter to Minnesotans and Americans.

That this nationally unknown senator from the Midwest excited people with her story and her grit is not surprising.

A presidential race is a marathon not a sprint. Klobuchar will surely best tested in the months ahead, but it’s hard to beat a good story told well once people hear it.