GOFFSTOWN — Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic candidate for President, entertained folks with humor and discussed policy at a “Politics & Eggs” event at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics Monday morning.
Before she went through a rapid-fire list of challenges that she would prioritize as President — infrastructure, income inequality, education reform, immigration reform, health care, climate change and electoral reform — Klobuchar spoke about her background and emphasized how her grandfather and mother were children of immigrants.
“That’s what this country is all about; that no matter who you are or who you know, you can make it in America,” she said.
Currently serving her third term in the Senate, Klobuchar described herself as an underdog without a lot of money to start with, a fighter with “grit” and also a bridge-builder — both figuratively and literally.
She started her list of priorities with infrastructure, saying it is important for the economy and that neglecting infrastructure can have deadly consequences. Klobuchar said she lived only miles away from the I-35W Mississippi Bridge in Minneapolis when it collapsed in 2007, killing 13 people.
In New Hampshire, she said creating a commuter rail system would be an important way to supply workers to the state.
Klobuchar said she had some “issues” with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, saying she wouldn’t have lowered the corporate tax rate as much, and that billions of dollars from a few percentage points in tax cuts could have been used for infrastructure instead.
Klobuchar characterized the need for immigration reform as an economic imperative, saying the country doesn’t have enough workers, and pointed out how many immigrants are entrepreneurs or major corporate executives.
“Immigrants don’t diminish America; they are America,” she said.
Klobuchar touched on ideas for health care reform, such as a cost-sharing initiative to lower premiums, creating a public option for insurance, regulating pharmaceutical companies to lower prices, and importing pharmaceuticals. She also touched on ideas for tweaking social safety nets by lifting the cap on Social Security or creating “up-savings” accounts where employers contribute 50 cents an hour into an account that follows the employee from job to job.
Klobuchar said New Hampshire needs additional support for addressing the opioid epidemic, and said she had a plan for how to fund it, including lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies.
“You have been carrying the burden way beyond the size of your state,” Klobuchar said.
She didn’t shy away from criticizing President Trump for sharing a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and she compared Trump’s application of tariffs on foreign commodities to using farmers, miners and other workers as “poker chips” in a game “at one of his bankrupt casinos.”
But Klobuchar also highlighted her ability to reach across the aisle and build coalitions. She said she had about 100 bills signed into law, including 34 while Trump has been president.
Later in the day, Klobuchar went to a meet-and-greet at the Shaheen & Gordon law firm in Concord, and spoke to a group of young Democrats at a cafe in Somersworth.
The Politics & Eggs series is co-hosted by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics and The New England Council.