Sen. Amy Klobuchar to give fall 2017 Mary Louise Smith Chair lecture

AMES, Iowa – The first woman elected to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate will visit Iowa State University as the 30th recipient of the Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar will present a lecture on women and leadership at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31, in the Memorial Union Great Hall. A reception will follow the lecture in the South Ballroom. Both events are free and open to the public.

Dianne Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, says Klobuchar is an example of the difference women can make as elected officials.  

“Following the 2016 election, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in Iowa and across the United States of women interested in running for local, state and federal political office,” Bystrom said. “We thought this would be a great time to host a woman political leader with a record of bipartisan leadership to encourage and inspire others to consider public service.”

Reputation for building bridges

Klobuchar was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 and has built a reputation of working across party lines. A 2016 analysis by Medill News Service ranked her first among all 100 U.S. senators in sponsoring or co-sponsoring bills enacted into law in the 114th Congress.

Before serving in the U.S. Senate, Klobuchar led the largest prosecutor’s office in Minnesota for eight years. Her safe schools initiative, community prosecution efforts and criminal justice reforms earned national awards from both the George W. Bush and Bill Clinton justice departments.

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, she has fought for a strong and fair safety net for American farmers and the opening of foreign markets for farm products. Klobuchar worked to pass the 2014 Farm Bill that supports conservation programs, school lunch funding and homegrown energy. She has also supported a strong renewable fuel standard to increase America’s energy independence, encourage clean energy production and create well-paying jobs at home. 

Klobuchar also serves on the Judiciary, Commerce, Rules and Joint Economic committees and is a member of the Democratic Party leadership. In the Senate, she is leading efforts to lower the cost of prescription drugs, strengthen rural communities, crack down on illegal steel dumping and create an independent commission to investigate Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

She is married to John Bessler, a native of Mankato, Minnesota, and they have a daughter, Abigail. Click here for a link to her full bio.

History of Mary Louise Smith Chair

Klobuchar is the 30th prominent woman leader to visit Iowa State through the sponsorship of the Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics. The chair was established in 1995 to honor the Iowa native and longtime political and civic leader. Smith – the first woman to chair the Republican National Committee – was a mentor, friend and role model to many in the world of politics and civic, government and community affairs.

The purpose of the chair is to bring nationally known political leaders, scholars and activists to Iowa State to enrich the experiences of students and educate citizens about the role of women in the political process. The Catt Center and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by Student Government, are cosponsoring Klobuchar’s lecture.