Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar made a lunch stop Friday at the home of Jake Blitsch and Oelwein Mayor Peggy Sherrets to visit with area supporters while on the campaign trail. Klobuchar is one of the 24 Democratic candidates running for president in 2020.
Mayor Sherrets welcomed approximately 25 to the luncheon. While there was no formal presentation from the senator, the hour was spent in conversation with many of the guests.
Sherrets told Klobuchar about successes the city has seen in retaining existing industry and the addition of East Penn Manufacturing, along with housing the first Regional Academy for Math and Science (RAMS Center) in the state. The senator also heard about housing issues, a problem that exists in many rural communities.
Oelwein School Board member Dana Bostian explained the juggling act the board faces with cutting programs and staff due to budget cuts brought on from state and federal cutbacks.
Blitsch told Klobuchar that with the current state of affairs in the country, he finds it difficult to keep a Christian attitude and that he continues to be appalled by the president’s actions.
“Everyone is appalled by what he (President Trump) is doing,” Klobuchar said. “But just remember the base of why we are appalled.”
One of Klobuchar’s strongest supporters at the luncheon won’t be eligible to vote for any candidate until 2027, but that doesn’t stop Ava Hanson of St. Lucas from attending every event possible. Friday marked the third time Ava has been at an event and spoken with the senator. She also has a signed copy of Klobuchar’s book, “The Senator Next Door.”
The 10-year-old thoroughly enjoys the political atmosphere and strongly supports the Democratic agenda. She has personally met 16 to 18 of the 24 Democratic candidates for president and says she is writing a book about them.
For Ava, Klobuchar stands out in the field of candidates because of her policies.
“I like a lot of the candidates, but she has policies that even if you’re not a Democrat, you can support them,” Ava said. “She treats everyone like we’re just humans, all the same with no divisions.”
The soon-to-be fifth grader in the Turkey Valley School District says people in the United States are ready for a new leader.
“We need change. I think she will be the best change,” she said of Klobuchar.
Klobuchar’s visit to Oelwein marks only the second presidential candidate of all the Democrats campaigning in this election cycle. John Delaney visited Oelwein earlier this year. Others have stopped in nearby communities, but not Oelwein, which seemed to be mecca for presidential candidates in 2012.
Fayette County Democratic Chair Tim O’Brien of Fayette said there is a shift in campaign focus from one central location to a broader area. In this case, it is the northeast four-county area of Winneshiek, Allamakee, Clayton and Fayette counties. O’Brien said this is due to being in a less-populated sector of the state.
Klobuchar said Oelwein was the 16th of 20 stops since Wednesday. Friday’s travels will end with the Democratic Wing Ding in Clear Lake. Saturday, she will be at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.