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Klobuchar addresses need for change

WORTHINGTON -- Greeted by a supportive audience of about 35 people, Amy Klobuchar talked about the need for change in Washington during a 40-minute stop Tuesday afternoon at Worthington American Legion Post 5.

WORTHINGTON -- Greeted by a supportive audience of about 35 people, Amy Klobuchar talked about the need for change in Washington during a 40-minute stop Tuesday afternoon at Worthington American Legion Post 5.

Klobuchar, the DFL-endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate, wasted little time in admonishing President George W. Bush and his fellow Republicans in Washington.

"I won't be following the Lone Star, I'll follow the North Star," said Klobuchar, repeating a comment she's made throughout her campaign.

Klobuchar, who has served as Hennepin County Attorney since 1998, gave an overview of issues she deems important to her candidacy while also taking questions from attendees. A prominent theme in her comments was the need for a new atmosphere in Washington.

"As county attorney ... I've taken on CEOs and white-collar crime, and we're 28-1 in our verdicts against white-collar defendants," Klobuchar said. "If we want to take on tough fights in D.C. ... we're going to need someone who takes on those fights. We can't send people to Washington who are going to rubber-stamp the president's policies."

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Klobuchar criticized Republicans for fiscal irresponsibility by recalling a phrase she used in a debate against her principal rival, Republican Rep. Mark Kennedy, and Independence Party candidate Robert Fitzgerald on Friday during the Minnesota State Fair.

"I said, 'Who wants to hire an accountant (Kennedy) who was in Congress when they took a $200 billion surplus and turned into a $300 million deficit,"' Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar proposes eliminating that deficit by reverting to "pay-as-you-go" rules in place during the Clinton Administration, eliminating earmark spending, and rolling back tax cuts for the wealthy while "closing tax shelters on multi-millionaires." Such measures would not just pay off the deficit but make additional money available for farms, reinvestment in renewable energy and more, she said.

Klobuchar asserted that $250,000 is spent each minute on foreign oil, and that America needs an energy possible that's both responsible and not dependent on foreign sources and big companies. She also criticized connections to big pharmaceutical corporations and deemed her campaign a "grassroots" effort.

"He (Kennedy) is always going to be ahead of us in money, but he doesn't have the people in this room," Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar noted she hoped to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee if elected, adding that she would work with Minnesota Rep. Collin Petersen, who she said would become chair of the House's Agriculture Committee should the Democrats take control of that body as a result of November's elections. She also said she would work to pursue immigration reform -- something she believes should have been done in Washington this year.

"Talk about all talk, no action," she said.

Klobuchar said she would "return the rule of law to our immigration policy" through stronger border controls and additional fences, adding that "people are waiting to come in legally" to the United States.

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"We shouldn't be giving amnesty to companies hiring illegal aliens," Klobuchar added, "and people here for a number of years who are paying taxes, learning English ... they should be put on some path to earn citizenship."

Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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