Sen. Amy Klobuchar incites pride, laughter during KTD speech

WORTHINGTON -- Minnesota's senior Sen. Amy Klobuchar filled one of the briefest speeches in recent King Turkey Day history Saturday by touting Minnesota's agricultural economy, expanding rural broadband and using a little romance humor as she hel...

King Turkey Day Board President Wade Roesner (left) presents Paycheck to Sen Amy Klobuchar as she gives Paycheck the customary good-luck kiss as Rep. Tim Walz enjoys the moment. (Tim Middagh/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Minnesota’s senior Sen. Amy Klobuchar filled one of the briefest speeches in recent King Turkey Day history Saturday by touting Minnesota’s agricultural economy, expanding rural broadband and using a little romance humor as she helped kick off the 77th annual festival in downtown Worthington.

On the final stop of a two-day tour in southwest Minnesota, Klobuchar told the crowd lining 10th Street Saturday afternoon that, “It is wonderful to be here and hear the list of those incredible speakers that you’ve had in the past at this great event -- Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey -- or as I like to call them, my warm-up act.”

Despite being in close proximity to the Ruby Begonia race team and fellow Texans -- who claim to be from the Turkey Capital of the World -- Klobuchar made it clear that Worthington truly deserves that title.

“We are the No. 1 turkey producing state with more independent turkey producers than anywhere else in the country,” she said. “We take pride in it, and I think we understand it is more than a Thanksgiving dinner. It is also about the people that work in this great industry.”

Klobuchar said consumption of turkey has increased 109 percent since 1970, with great export potential. She, along with Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz (D) and Tom Emmer (R) , have led a bipartisan effort to export turkey and “all kinds of other agricultural products” to Cuba.


“That is something that is really important,” she said of the 11 million people who reside 90 miles off the U.S. coast. “We’ve had 55 years of a failed policy.”

As she leads the effort to expand exports to Cuba, Klobuchar said her role as a U.S. senator from Minnesota includes getting people in the metro areas of the country to understand the importance of agriculture.

“Sometimes I think they think those turkeys just magically appear on their Thanksgiving table and they don’t know the hard work that goes into it,” she said. “That’s why we work so hard to make sure we are competitive in our country. We want to make things in America and export them to the rest of the world instead of having everything come here. Agriculture is a big piece of that.

“That’s why we’re working hard on a new farm bill,” she added. “Tim (Walz) and I would like to get that farm bill done a year early. I know that isn’t usually Washington speak, but it could happen.”

Speaking of things happening in Washington, Klobuchar said the No. 1 role of government is to let people do their work and raise their families, and to also be available in times of crisis. She mentioned the avian flu epidemic that plagued Minnesota in 2015 and the efforts made to contain the deadly virus.

She also spoke of the FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act passed earlier this year that provides funding in a five-year federal transportation bill. The money makes up half of Minnesota’s transportation budget.

“It means we’re going to invest more in our roads, in our bridges, our barges -- things that bring goods to market, which is really, really important,” Klobuchar said.

Now, Klobuchar is focused on investing in rural broadband -- the super highway. Sharing the story of farmers in the Willmar area who go to McDonald’s every morning -- not just for a cup of coffee, but because it’s the only way they can access their business records -- she said we need to do better.


“That’s just not how we should be running things if we want to be on equal footing with the metropolitan area in this state and across the country,” Klobuchar said, adding, “Sen. Thune, the Republican senator across the border, and I have been leading the way on rural broadband and getting some changes made on that.”

With all of the work facing legislators in Washington, Klobuchar said it is “not always good times,” but she is looking forward to the future.

“I truly believe that courage … when we’re governing finally from opportunity, and not from crisis … that courage is not going to be just standing by yourself giving a speech to an empty room in Congress; courage is whether or not you’re willing to stand next to someone you don’t always agree with for the betterment of this country,” she said. “That is what this is about. Remember that as we go through polarized times.

“It’s communities like this one that are strong, that believe there is something greater than just things that divide us and things that bring us together that make America so great.”

In closing, Klobuchar spoke of her stop at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne Saturday morning. While there, she visited with a World War II veteran who boasted that he proposed to his girlfriend during King Turkey Day 1948. They married three weeks later.

“So, not only is this a community event, it is a romantic event, which will be kicked off with me kissing Paycheck.”

King Turkey Day featured speaker Sen. Amy Klobuchar makes remarks to the crowd Saturday afternoon. (Tim Middagh/Daily Globe)

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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