First Amendment Defender Award
This award is presented to an individual or organization who takes a public stand in support of press freedom.
Senator Amy Klobuchar
U.S. Senate Representative – Minnesota
“Sen. Klobuchar has been a staunch defender of First Amendment freedoms over the years. She has supported cameras in courts, she has worked to advance government transparency, and she has pursued protections for the press through oversight, including her questioning this month of Attorney General Designate William Barr. Her record represents exactly the sort of leadership RTDNF seeks to recognize. As a constituent of Sen. Klobuchar and as someone who has led Twin Cities newsrooms during the decades of her distinguished career, it is my honor to extend this recognition.” – Scott Libin, RTDNF Chairman
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar is the first woman elected to represent the State of Minnesota in the United States Senate. Throughout her public service, Senator Klobuchar has always embraced the values she learned growing up in Minnesota. Her grandfather worked 1500 feet underground in the iron ore mines of Northern Minnesota. Her father, Jim, was a newspaperman, and her mother, Rose, was an elementary school teacher who continued teaching until she was 70.
Senator Klobuchar has built a reputation of putting partisanship aside to help strengthen the economy and support families, workers and businesses. In 2016, an analysis by Medill News Service ranked her first among all 100 senators in sponsoring or cosponsoring bills that were enacted into law in the 114th Congress.
Senator Klobuchar has always understood that her first duty is to represent the people of Minnesota. She acted quickly to obtain full funding to rebuild the I-35W bridge just thirteen months after it tragically collapsed into the Mississippi River. She worked across party lines to expand education and job opportunities for returning service members, fought to ensure that Minnesota National Guard members received the full benefits they earned, and helped turn Minnesota’s ground-breaking “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon” program into a national model. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Klobuchar was part of the important Farm Bill conference committee that reached an agreement between the Senate and the House on a long-term Farm Bill in 2014.
Since arriving in the Senate, Senator Klobuchar has worked with Democrats and Republicans to get things done. She led the effort to pass landmark pieces of legislation to end human trafficking and to combat the opioid epidemic. She fought to pass the most significant consumer product safety legislation in a generation, keeping foreign toxic products off our shores and out of our stores, and pushed the cell phone companies to enact more consumer-friendly policies. Additionally, her efforts to protect consumers have resulted in the largest furniture recall in American history as well as millions of defective airbags being taken off the road.
In 2015, she was appointed Chair of the Senate Democratic Steering Committee, where she brings together senators, businesses, community leaders, policy experts and intergovernmental organizations to help develop policies to strengthen the economy and move the country forward.
As a member of the Joint Economic Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Klobuchar has been a leader in working to implement a competitive agenda to ensure businesses have the tools they need to grow and create good jobs in their communities. She has authored legislation to lift the trade embargo with Cuba as well as legislation to help small businesses tap into new markets abroad. She has successfully advocated for the Administration to take action to combat illegal steel dumping. She has also passed a significant amendment aimed at boosting funds for STEM education for American students and led national initiatives to boost American tourism, including a series of regulatory reforms adopted by the Administration.
Senator Klobuchar also serves as the Ranking Member on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, where she has worked to advance policies that protect consumers from anti-competitive behavior and make sure businesses are able to compete on a level playing field. She has introduced legislation to crack down on “pay-for-delay” agreements, the practice of brand-name drug manufacturers using pay-off agreements to keep more affordable generic equivalents off the market.
Senator Klobuchar is also the Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee, where she works to ensure fairness, transparency, and efficiency in government. She helped pass the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate and has authored legislation to boost same-day voter registration, which Minnesota has had in place for many years and, as a result, has one of the highest voter turnout rates in the country.
Before serving in the Senate, Senator Klobuchar headed the largest prosecutor’s office in Minnesota for eight years, making the prosecution of violent and career criminals her top priority. She led the effort for successful passage of Minnesota’s first felony DWI law, and received the leadership award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Her safe schools initiative, community prosecution efforts, and criminal justice reforms earned national awards from both the Bush and Clinton Justice Departments. As a private citizen and before being elected to public office, Senator Klobuchar was the leading advocate for successful passage of one of the first laws in the country guaranteeing 48-hour hospital stays for new moms and their babies.
Her work has gained national recognition. The American Prospect named her a “woman to watch,” and Working Mother Magazine named her as “Best in Congress” for her efforts on behalf of working families. She received an award from the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) for her work to fight sexual assault in the military, and the Disabled American Veterans honored her work to improve the lives of America’s veterans. She has also received the “Outstanding Member of the Senate Award” from the National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition and the “Above and Beyond Award” from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve for her commitment to developing a supportive work environment for employees serving in the Guard and Reserves.
Senator Klobuchar was the valedictorian of her Wayzata High School class. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School. Her senior essay in college, published as the book “Uncovering the Dome,” chronicles the 10-year-history behind the building of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and is still used at colleges and universities across the country.
Senator Klobuchar is married to John Bessler, a native of Mankato, who attended Loyola High School and the University of Minnesota. Senator Klobuchar and John have a daughter, Abigail.
First Amendment Defender Award
Updated on 2019-01-31T15:26:11+00:00, by .