Amy's Election Night Speech

Thank you. Thank you to everyone here in this room.  And thank you to the people of Minnesota!

There’s a lot happening tonight. A lot of races we’re still waiting on. But things are looking good. 

I’ve spoken with Representative Bills. He campaigned hard to the end, and I told him that we all wish him and his family the best.

I’m truly humbled by the trust and confidence you gave me six years ago – and that you’ve renewed with your vote today.

I want to first thank my family. I would never have made it here if it weren’t for them. My wonderful husband, John. Our daughter, Abigail. Abigail has homework to do tonight. I’m just thankful she didn’t bring it up on stage with her!

I also want to thank my in-laws, the Besslers, who are here from Mankato. Thanks for wearing the shirts that say “Hi, we’re Amy’s in-laws.”

My dad, Jim Klobuchar and his wife Susan. My dad was fearless on the campaign trail. At 84 he’s still looking for new adventures. Next week I think he’s even going to get Twitter and Facebook accounts.

With us in spirit is my mom, who taught school until she was 70. I know she’s smiling down on us tonight.

Governor Dayton, thank you for your support and leadership.

Al, thank you for being such a strong partner in the Senate and for your friendship. 

Thank you to our Minnesota congressional delegation, including the great Congresswoman from this district, Betty McCollum.

Finally, I want to thank my campaign manager Justin Buoen and everyone on our staff. There were a lot of late nights. There were a lot of early mornings.  

But you know what? All the parades … all the phone calls … all the door knocking … all the lawn signs … all the rallies. They were all worth it.

We won this election the right way. We worked hard. We were positive and optimistic about the future of Minnesota. We won because we were forward-looking.

As Minnesotans, we don’t vote our fears. We vote our hopes.

We don’t vote for rhetoric. We vote for results.

We don’t vote for extreme ideologies. We vote for common sense.

And we don’t vote to go backward. We vote to go forward!

I’ve approached my job with one simple value: Putting the people of Minnesota first and fighting for what’s right.

And I can tell you right now that getting things done in Washington in the next few years is not going to be about standing by yourself and giving a speech. The future will be in the hands of those who are willing to stand next to someone they don’t always agree with for the betterment of this country.

After this polarizing national election, we must stand together and renew our commitment to our country. Renew our faith in America.

That means: Renewing our economy … renewing our democracy.  … and though it may seem like mission impossible, renewing Congress.

To renew our economy, we need a competitive agenda for America. 

We can no longer afford to be a country that just churns money on Wall Street. What we need to be now is a country that thinks, that invents, that makes things and exports to the world.

We need an education system that gives students the skills to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow that our great Minnesota businesses are creating today.

We need a forward-looking energy policy that invests in the farmers and workers of the Midwest. Not the oil cartels of the Mideast.

We need infrastructure that is as strong as our businesses and helps them get the goods they are making to market – in Minnesota, across the country, and all over the world.

And we need to reduce our debt in a balanced way, with everyone, including the wealthiest, sharing in the solution.

One of my favorite moments from the Democratic National Convention was when President Bill Clinton said: “People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets when I was in the White House. What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: Arithmetic.” 

We need to apply that same rule today. We have got to bring down our debt. But the math has got to add up and that means both spending cuts and revenue.

Second, we need to renew our democracy.

We need to stop these voter suppression amendments and legislation that we’re seeing across the country.

Paul Wellstone once said: “There are three critical ingredients to democratic renewal: Good public policy. Grassroots organizing. And electoral politics.”

My friends, take away that last pillar and the rest falls down. We cannot have a strong democracy without a fair election system. And that means including citizens in the voting process and enforcing our election laws.

And if we want a strong democracy, why should we let anonymous billionaires write 10-million-dollar checks to change the course of an election? That shouldn’t happen in the United States of America. We can’t let that happen. 

That’s why we need to pass the DISCLOSE Act for more transparency – so we can at least find out where all this money is coming from. And we need to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United.

Finally, and I call this “mission possible”—I’m an optimist—we need to renew the Congress.

We’ve worked to make some common-sense reforms to the Senate rules. But much more needs to be done. Much, much more.

We’ve had enough of the gridlock and enough of the obstructionism. America wants us to meet its challenges.

Here’s a proposal: If someone wants to stop something, they shouldn’t be able to just put in a filibuster and go home. They should have to stand there and make their argument…and stand there…and stand there…and stand there. That’s called a standing filibuster. And once they have to start explaining it to the American people… they’ll stop doing it. 

To renew Congress, we also have to re-define what we mean by political courage. I’m not talking about retreating to opposite corners of the boxing ring, throwing punches. I’m talking about having the integrity to do the right thing. Even if it doesn’t make the best sound bite. I’m talking about having the decency to treat people with whom you disagree with civility and respect. Even if you’re on TV. Especially if you’re on TV. 

In Minnesota, we like leaders who have a backbone. We like optimists, too. Like Hubert Humphrey.

In a recent book, columnist Tom Friedman (who grew up in St. Louis Park) describes himself as a “frustrated optimist.” I think the label might also apply to a lot of us here.

Here’s what he says:

“It is easy to be an optimist about America if you stand on your head, because the country looks so much better, and is so much more inspiring, when viewed from the bottom up rather than from the top down.”

It’s so true.

I see it in the hearts of those Minnesota teachers who stand in front of their classrooms each day, without much recognition or reward, to make sure our kids get a good education.

I see it in our homegrown Minnesota businesses like Duluth Pack and Red Wing Shoes. They are making things in Minnesota. And they won’t take no for an answer.

I see it in the people who come together for a cause, across religious and political ideology, because they believe in the civility and the goodness of the people. That’s what we’re seeing in the grassroots movement to defeat the divisive marriage amendment.

So when we stand on our heads, there is a lot to be optimistic about.

And when we stand up and stand tall, I refuse to be discouraged. I will continue to bring Minnesota common sense with me to Washington, so the country doesn’t just look good on the main streets in Minnesota. It also looks good in the halls of Congress.

I believe there’s a common ground in this country. And that common ground is this: It’s that we believe in an America that’s as good as its promise.

We believe in an America where people play by the same rules.

We believe in an America that’s as strong as the backbones of those Minnesota National Guard Members that fight for us in the sands of the Mideast and then fill sandbags in the floods in the Midwest. That’s what we believe in.

We believe in an America that’s as resilient as our Minnesota farmers who are out there everyday, growing the crops, raising the livestock, powering our homegrown energy supply.   

And we believe in an America that’s as good as the spirit of those volunteers who, when five years ago . . . when that big I-35W bridge fell down in the middle of the river . . . they didn’t run away.

They ran toward that bridge. And they saved dozens of lives.

That’s the America we believe in…the American I embrace. An America that believes in the decency of its people. An America that’s as good as its promise. That’s where we head going forward.

Now, I want to close by thanking the amazing people who’ve been with me through this campaign and working hard for our state.

Our Party Chair Ken Martin

Our Associate Chair Marge Hoffa

My campaign manager Justin Buoen. Linden Zakula and the communications team. Matt Freeman and the field team. Sara Bryant and the finance team. Sammy Clark and the policy team. And my loyal aide in the Super Van, Peter Grafstrom.

And the people who do great work in my office every day for the people of Minnesota: Jonathan, Rose, Brigit, Paul, Kali, Erika, Sarah and the rest of our team.

I want everyone to know that I’ve been honored and humbled to be your Senator and I will continue to be honored and humbled to represent the people of Minnesota.

Thank you for the faith you’ve put in me.