Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar promoted her $1 trillion plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure during a visit to Santa Monica Tuesday to promote her candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
“You make the case for infrastructure with traffic jams,” Klobuchar told reporters following what was billed as a Santa Monica Democratic Club “meet and greet” at the Santa Monica Public Library.
“You make the case for infrastructure with rural broadband, the fact that parts of California and parts of the rest of America do not have the access they need to broadband. It’s real hard to do if you have an infrastructure system that was built for the last century.”
Klobuchar proposed the plan in March. It includes repairing and replacing roads, highways, and bridges; providing protection against flooding, updating and modernizing airports, seaports and inland waterways; expanding public transit options; updating rail infrastructure; rebuilding schools; overhauling federal housing policies; and connecting every household to the internet by 2022.
The plan would be financed by establishing an independent, nonpartisan Infrastructure Financing Authority to complement existing infrastructure funding, issuing bonds and changing the corporate tax system.
Klobuchar’s Southland visit came one day after “The View” host Meghan McCain, in a tweet she said was on behalf of her entire family, asked Klobuchar to “please be respectful to all of us and leave my father’s legacy and memory out of presidential politics.”
McCain was responding to remarks made by Klobuchar during a campaign appearance Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa, in which she recalled sitting between the late Arizona Sen. John McCain and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, during President Donald Trump’s inaugural address.
“John McCain kept reciting to me names of dictators during that speech because he knew more than any of us what we were facing as a nation,” Klobuchar said. “He understood it. He knew because he knew this man more than any of us did.”
Klobuchar told Jimmy Kimmel during a taping of his ABC late-night talk show later Tuesday McCain was “mentioning dictators’ speeches.”
“I think the point of the story was that John McCain was a student of history and so he knew what was coming,” Klobuchar said in response to a question by Kimmel. “He knew these cries for isolationism, what that meant if we don’t stand with our allies, what that meant for America’s standing in the world. And that’s what he was doing.”
Klobuchar concluded her day by being interviewed by former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers at a Writers Bloc Presents event at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, discussing her memoir “The Senator Next Door.”
Klobuchar came to Southern California four days before she will be among at least 14 candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination expected to speak at the 2019 California Democratic Party Organizing Convention in San Francisco.
Klobuchar announced her candidacy Feb. 10 in a park in Minneapolis amid snow saying, “Our nation must be governed not from chaos but from opportunity. Not by wallowing over what’s wrong, but by marching inexorably toward what’s right. That’s got to start with all of us.”
Klobuchar said she was running “for this job for every person who wants their work recognized and rewarded … for every parent who wants a better world for their kids … for every student who wants a good education, for every senior who wants affordable prescription drugs, for every worker, farmer, dreamer, builder, for every American.”
Klobuchar promised that if elected, in the first 100 days of her administration she would “reinstate the clean power rules and gas mileage standards and put forth sweeping legislation to invest in green jobs and infrastructure” and on her first day, have the U.S. rejoin the Paris climate agreement.
Mandi Merritt, the Republican National Committee’s Ohio communications director, called Klobuchar “a radical Democrat trying to masquerade as a moderate” who “has endorsed the same radical agenda as the rest of the 2020 field.”
On May 3, Klobuchar announced a plan to prioritize mental health and combat addiction, including new prevention and early intervention initiatives, expanding access to treatment and giving Americans a path to sustainable recovery.
“My own story is like a lot of families’ stories — my dad struggled with alcoholism when I was growing up,” Klobuchar said. “I love my dad. I saw him climb the highest mountains but also sink to the lowest valleys because of his battle.
“After three DWIs, he finally got real treatment and was, in his own words, `pursued by grace.’ The one thing I hear over and over again across the country is people’s stories of battling with mental health and addiction,” she said. “People need help, but they just can’t get it. I believe everyone should have the same opportunity my dad had to be pursued by grace and get the treatment and help they need.”
The plan would be financed by a 2-cent fee on each milligram of active opioid ingredient in a prescription pain pill to be paid by the manufacturer or importer, reaching a master settlement agreement with opioid manufacturers that provides money directly to the states for the cost of addiction treatment and social services and increasing taxes on investment earnings, Klobuchar said.
Nina Mclaughlin, the Republican National Committee’s New Hampshire/Maine communications director, said the proposal “looks to put the financial burden on the backs of sick Americans while failing to address treatment for those already suffering from addiction.”
Klobuchar, who turned 59 on Saturday, was born and raised in the Minneapolis suburb of Plymouth. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale and a law degree from the University of Chicago School of Law, then worked as a corporate lawyer.
Klobuchar began her career in elected office in 1998 as county attorney for Hennepin County, Minnesota’s largest county, which includes Minneapolis. She was re-elected in 2002. She was elected to the first of three terms in the Senate in 2006.