Five things to know about Amy Klobuchar, from her start in politics to her staff treatment controversy

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., announced she would be joining the 2020 presidential race back in February, on a snowy day in Minneapolis.

The 58-year-old, three-term senator is known as a straight-shooting pragmatist willing to work with Republicans, making her one of the Senate's most productive members at passing legislation.

However, she has also distanced herself from other, more progressive candidates on certain issues. She hasn’t quite embraced "Medicare-for-all" and doesn’t support free college tuition -- though she has pushed back at being labeled as “moderate.”

The senator has also voted with President Trump about a third of the time, according to FiveThiryEight.

Klobuchar will join Fox News Channel for a Town Hall co-anchored by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum on Wednesday, May 8, at 6:30 p.m. ET in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In April, the Midwestern Democrat announced her campaign had brought in $5.2 million in its first seven weeks, from her announcement to the end of the first quarter of fundraising on March 31. She also transferred $3 million from her Senate 2018 re-election campaign, bringing her total to more than $8 million, according to her campaign.


Though it was a respectable amount, her fundraising trailed significantly behind many of her rivals for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who raised $18.2 million and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who brought in $12 million.

Ahead of her Fox News Town Hall on Wednesday, here are five facts to know about the moderate Minnesota senator.

Her dad struggled with alcohol addiction -- which has influenced her career

On Friday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar D-Minn., released a plan to spend $100 million over a decade to improve mental health care and fight substance abuse.(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

On Friday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar D-Minn., released a plan to spend $100 million over a decade to improve mental health care and fight substance abuse.(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Klobuchar has been open about her father’s alcoholism and the impact it had on her life. She has said her father got "real treatment" after his third arrest for driving while intoxicated. He has remained sober with support from friends, family and his faith, what he calls being "pursued by grace," she said, according to The Associated Press.

The senator has also said addiction is one of the issues she hears most about from people.

"The one thing I hear over and over again across the country is people's stories of battling with mental health and addiction — people need help, but they just can't get it," she has said. "I believe everyone should have the same opportunity my dad had to be pursued by grace and get the treatment and help they need."

On Friday, the senator released a plan to spend $100 billion over a decade to improve mental health care and fight substance abuse.

Klobuchar's background also played a role in her questioning of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last year, a moment that helped raise her national profile.

The senator asked Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexually assaulting a woman years earlier when they were in high school, whether he ever had had so much to drink that he didn't remember what happened. Kavanaugh, who denied the assault allegation, turned the question around, asking Klobuchar, "Have you?"

Klobuchar continued, unruffled, as Kavanaugh asked again. Kavanaugh later apologized to Klobuchar.

"When you have a parent who's an alcoholic, you're pretty careful about drinking," she said. "I was truly trying to get to the bottom of the facts and the evidence."

She interned with Jimmy Carter’s Vice President Walter Mondale as an undergraduate

Klobuchar graduated from Yale University in 1982 and during that time, she interned for Walter Mondale, who was the vice president to then-President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981.

The now-senator tweeted about her internship experience back in January, to celebrate Mondale’s birthday.

“Happy 91st birthday to VP Walter Mondale. In college I was one of his interns, where I was assigned to inventory all the office furniture. That was my first gov job in Washington & U.S. Senator was my second. Lesson? Do good work no matter the assignment & listen to wise mentors,” she wrote alongside a picture of the two of them.

She got started in politics after the birth of her first daughter

Before she was elected to the Senate, Klobuchar was a corporate lawyer and then the Hennepin County attorney. What got her started in politics was the birth of her daughter Abigail in 1995, according to The Star Tribune.

At the time, health insurance plans only allowed new mothers to stay in the hospital for 24 hours. When Abigail was born, she had a condition that prevented her from swallowing, so she had to stay in the hospital while Klobuchar was required to leave, the outlet reported.


Klobuchar testified at the next legislative session in favor of a proposal that would require health insurance plans to let mothers stay in the hospital for 48 hours.

The proposal passed in Minnesota and a similar bill was signed into federal law by then-President Bill Clinton in 1996.

She was the first woman elected to serve Minnesota in the U.S. Senate

When she was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006, Klobuchar became Minnesota’s first female senator, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

During her campaign for the seat, she reportedly raised $17,000 from ex-boyfriends, she told Vogue earlier this year.

There have been reports she mistreats her staff

Even before she made her presidential announcement, HuffPost reported that Klobuchar had such a bad reputation over her treatment of staff that a number of potential staffers withdrew from consideration to manage her campaign.

Some former staffers described Klobuchar as “habitually demeaning and prone to bursts of cruelty,” although others said that while working for Klobuchar was challenging, it was also rewarding. Some pushed back and questioned whether those making the accusations “were falling for sexist stereotypes about female leaders with high standards.”

Klobuchar’s team issued a lengthy statement saying she has been “proud” of her staff.

One specific accusation came out later in February, when The New York Times reported Klobuchar allegedly berated a staff member for failing to bring her a fork with her salad while the senator was traveling to South Carolina in 2008.

Klobuchar not only chastised the aide, but reportedly proceeded to eat the salad using a comb from her bag -- then handed the comb to the aide and told him to clean it.

She later explained the bizarre story, saying she was "doing a mom thing."

“The comb story was me, sort of doing a mom thing. I didn’t have a fork, I used a comb to eat a salad very briefly on a plane,” she said at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, in March.

Fox News’ Jennifer Earl, Andrew O’Reilly, Paul Steinhauser, Brooke Singman, Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.