Klobuchar Comes to Iowa State


Ashley Siegner/Iowa State Daily

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar speaks to students and community members about women and their roles in leadership at the Great Hall on Aug. 31. 

K. Rambo

As the thirtieth recipient of the Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics, Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., gave a lecture to a full Great Hall in the Memorial Union Thursday night.

Sen. Klobuchar’s lecture, focused on women in politics and sponsored by the Catt Center, detailed her personal experiences as the first female senator elected in Minnesota and historic examples of women in politics.

The story that generated the largest response was when she boarded a plane in Washington D.C. with Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and a member of the flight crew came on the PA telling the flight there were celebrities on board, introducing the duo as “Mr. and Mrs. Al Franken.”

Sen. Klobuchar’s humorous stories resonated bursts of laughter in the crowd, but not all attendees were impressed with her lecture content.

“I mean anecdotes don’t particularly interest me, I think it’s just like a ploy,” said Madison Wiegand, a senior in political science. “What I really liked was when they were getting into questions about specific policy and she had actual examples, especially about prescription drugs for example. Things like that where it’s really digging into actual tangible change, rather than just overall rhetoric.”

Wiegand did say she felt the lecture was well done.

Sen. Klobuchar struck an inspirational chord with many attendees. Katherine Paul, a junior in political science and religious studies, said the senator’s humor stood out to her.

“She made everybody feel very comfortable by the way she was addressing the crowd and the humor she used. She made an electric connection with almost everyone in the room,” Paul said.

Paul, a student intern at the Carrie Chapman Catt Center, said she felt “very empowered” by the speech.

As an accomplished member of the Senate, Klobuchar is known for her ability to bridge partisan divides and pass legislation aimed at stopping human trafficking, protecting natural resources and increasing female entrepreneurship.

In Sen. Klobuchar’s interview with the Daily following her lecture, she explained why she felt motivated to make time to lecture at Iowa State.

“Well, it was the nature of this lecture. It was a big tradition with a lot of people that come and anything that I can do to get more women to run for office, I’m going to do. In the Midwest, we have some women now in the senate and in congress, but not as many as we should and so I wanted to get that message out and then also I’m not too far away. I can see, as I say, Iowa from my porch,” said Klobuchar.

Sen. Klobuchar said she felt Iowa State was an important venue for her lecture and hoped attendees left with several key takeaways.

“One, we need more women to run at the local level, the student council level, you name it. Two, that we need to respect other people with different views. Memo to White House: If you’re civil, maybe more people will work with you,” said Klobuchar.

The attendees were not the only people who felt grateful to be present for the lecture.

“It was very, actually quite rewarding and I think they don’t have exams yet, so I picked a good time, gotta be pragmatic about that. But also, I just think it shows this zest for getting involved and this newfound interest in what’s happening and boy, do we need that right now in our politics,” said Klobuchar.