Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has now visited all of Iowa’s 99 counties.
She wrapped up her tour of the state in Humboldt on Friday afternoon.
“We are really excited about this as you know,” Klobuchar said. “For me, it’s really a part of my way of being, to go out there and meet people and get ideas from people.”
Klobuchar said she has gotten some of her best ideas from being out on the ground and meeting people in both big cities and small.
“I think it’s one of the problems we’ve got right now with our government, is that people are more listening to lobbyists and they’re listening to people who come to them that are the loudest, instead of getting out there and talking to regular people,” Klobuchar said.
Klobuchar hit three new counties Friday, starting in Emmet County this morning, then stopping in Kossuth and moving on to Humboldt. She also hosted a 99-county tour completion party in Des Moines Friday evening.
John Delaney is the only other 2020 hopeful who has also completed a 99-county tour, but Klobuchar is the only one remaining on the debate stage to do so.
She drove down from Minnesota Friday morning, and she joked as she was in the car on her way to Iowa she looked up and told her staff: “We’re not going down 35,” referring to the highway.
“You find out you have very limited moments of joy,” Klobuchar joked about her busy schedule.
She pitched her plans that will have the greatest impact on rural Iowans, ranging from her intention to create affordable childcare centers, keep Social Security strong and expand rural broadband. Iceland, Klobuchar said, has better cell phone and internet service than parts of the United States.
“We can get rural broadband to every house in America by 2022, as long as we put the money in,” Klobuchar said. “We can do better with our roads and bridges and locks and dams and rail — the things we need to get goods to market. It’s a major infrastructure investment, over $1 trillion.”
She also mentioned her plan to make sure no family making up to 150% of the median income is paying more than 7% of their income on childcare.
As far as retirement and Social Security is concerned, Klobuchar pitched the bills she’s signed onto with fellow Democratic senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and even some she is working on with Iowa’s Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley.
“Right now there’s a payroll tax that ends at $133,000. You could create a doughnut hole and have it start again … at $250,000 and that would keep Social Security solvent forever,” Klobuchar said in Estherville.
She said there’s a bill going through the Senate now that would do just that. It’s Sen. Sanders’ bill, but she’s been signed on to it for a while.
Klobuchar pitched more than just plans during the last stretch of her bus tour across the state, which began Dec. 20 in Henry County and took a brief break for Christmas.
“When we have a president who goes after immigrants, when we have a president who belittles people within his own party when they don’t agree with him, when we have a president that seems to know no limits of the mean things that he can say,” Klobuchar said, “we have to remember that that decency check is just as important for some people as some of the other issues that we debate on the stage.
“And if we don’t remember that, we are going to screw this up,” Klobuchar continued. “We cannot screw this up.”
Klobuchar later told a story about her husband, John, who joined her Friday afternoon.
“My husband was always the good boy, the quiet one, who got left behind at the gas station,” Klobuchar said. “They started counting off so it didn’t happen again. I will start with that — I will never in a national election or as president leave your town, or Iowa, or the Midwest behind at the gas station.”
Klobuchar ended her day in Des Moines, where she was joined by a couple of friends.
Iowa Rep. Ruth Ann Gaines, who has endorsed Klobuchar, helped introduce the senator in Des Moines.
“I really liked her from the beginning. I liked her Midwestern style of shaking your hand, looking you straight in the eye, smiling at you and then being very attentive of what you had to say and then telling you what she thought you could do or not do,” Gaines said. “Many of the presidential candidates that I have met before give lofty ideas of what they could do, and I knew in my heart they couldn’t do it.
“I didn’t feel that way about Amy,” Gaines said. “I could tell from the very beginning that she was authentic.”
State Rep. Andy Mckean, the recent Republican-turned-Democrat, also spoke before Klobuchar at the Des Moines event. He said it was essential Democrats make the right choice in selecting a candidate to oppose Donald Trump, which is why he and his wife drove 150 miles to be at the event.
“We think we have a candidate who, number one, will be a great President, number two, can bring the country together again, and, number three, can defeat Donald Trump,” Mckean said. “And that candidate is Amy Klobuchar.”
By Paige Godden