Editor's note: Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race on March 2, 2020.
We asked presidential candidates questions about a variety of issues facing the country. This is what Democratic candidate Amy Klobuchar had to say about climate change, gun control, health care and other issues.
Do you believe the earth’s climate is changing? If yes, do you believe it is caused by humans?
Senator Klobuchar believes that there is now a scientific consensus that climate change is having an impact on our world and it is clear that inaction is not an option for our economy, for our environment, for our country, and for our world. 2018 was the fourth-hottest year on record globally, and another near-record year for U.S. weather and climate disasters. Senator Klobuchar believes that human activity has caused climate change and she has voted for legislation affirming that human activity has contributed to climate change.
If you could unilaterally make one change, or enact one policy, that would affect the climate, what would that be? And why?
Senator Klobuchar understands that no single policy will solve the climate crisis. That’s why she supports a carbon pricing system that does not have a regressive impact on Americans and she is committed to taking immediate action — without Congress — to get us back into the International Climate Change Agreement, bring back the clean power rules and gas mileage standards that the Obama Administration put into place, and put forward sweeping legislation that provides a landmark investment in clean-energy jobs and infrastructure, promotes rural renewable energy, and supports workers and communities that are on the front lines of the climate crisis.
How would you engage foreign leaders to work with the United States on issues related to climate?
By withdrawing from the International Climate Change Agreement, President Trump squandered America’s climate leadership and limited U.S. leverage to address carbon emissions abroad. Senator Klobuchar believes we must rebuild our relationship with our allies and restore America’s standing in the world. As president, Senator Klobuchar will reassert U.S. global leadership to confront the climate crisis. She will get the United States back in the International Climate Change Agreement on day one, build on the agreement to achieve global emissions reductions, and establish meaningful enforcement of international climate goals.
Should the U.S. explore additional use of nuclear power as an alternative energy source? Why or why not?
Senator Klobuchar would review all the existing nuclear plants to make sure they are safe and she will not expand nuclear power unless we can find a safe storage solution for nuclear waste.
Should the U.S. government offer subsidies for renewable energy, such as wind energy or ethanol? Why or why not?
Senator Klobuchar’s plan to tackle the climate crisis puts our country on a path to achieving 100% net-zero emissions no later than 2050, which will require a wholesale transformation of the energy sector. As president, Senator Klobuchar will support subsidies and tax credits for renewable energy. She will also do more to accelerate the adoption of clean energy, including by subsidizing production and investment by state and local governments, nonprofits and private companies.
How would you address gun violence in America?
Gun violence has cut short far too many lives, torn families apart, and plagued communities across the country. As president, Senator Klobuchar will never fold to the NRA and gun safety will be a top priority. She’ll introduce legislation including putting universal background checks in place, closing the Charleston loophole, and banning bump stocks, assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. There are also important steps the president can take without waiting for Congress, including closing the “boyfriend loophole,” investing in research into gun violence, and restoring rules to prevent those with severe mental illnesses from acquiring guns.
How do you propose making schools safer from acts of violence?
Senator Klobuchar led bipartisan legislation that was signed into law that provided more than $1 billion to improve school security and training for teachers and law enforcement, while ensuring that this federal funding could not be used to arm teachers. As president, she will continue to push for funding for school safety and training and she will champion a package of gun safety legislation that includes providing grants to states to implement extreme risk provisions to empower families and law enforcement to keep guns away from people who show signs of threatening behavior. As part of her 100 days plan, she has committed to preventing any federal funding from being used to arm teachers.
What role, if any, should the government have in regulating large technology companies?
Senator Klobuchar believes our laws and our policies have not kept pace with our changing economy. As president, she will take aggressive antitrust action and stand up to multi-billion and trillion dollar companies, including technology companies. She leads legislation to modernize antitrust enforcement and update the legal standards to stop harmful consolidation. She has also introduced bipartisan privacy legislation to improve transparency and strengthen consumers’ recourse options when a breach of data occurs. She will also promote accountability and transparency for political ads on the internet by passing and signing into law her bipartisan Honest Ads Act.
If you are elected, how would you interact with North Korea? What relationship would the U.S. and North Korea have?
Senator Klobuchar believes we need to work with our allies to make clear to Kim Jong Un that further development of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs will only lead to further economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation. At the same time, she would be prepared to offer incentives for positive actions, but these must be tied directly to verifiable and irreversible steps toward denuclearization.
Would you re-enter the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran? Why or why not?
Senator Klobuchar believes that we cannot allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. As president, Senator Klobuchar will renegotiate back into the Iran nuclear agreement.
How do you plan to address the threat of extremism in the U.S.?
Senator Klobuchar believes the most important responsibility of our government is keeping our nation and our people safe. That means strong counterterrorism and intelligence capabilities, promoting community engagement to address threats and violence, developing new technologies to detect and prevent attacks, and supporting our local, state and federal law enforcement. She would also prioritize combating domestic terrorism and empower law enforcement to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of hate-motivated violence, including against minorities, people of color, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community.
Do you believe there is equal access to voting in the U.S.? If not, how would you go about expanding access to voting?
Senator Klobuchar believes that there are insidious forces working to take away people’s right to vote and we must do more to stand up to those who would suppress the vote with intimidation, repress our voices with dark money, and refuse to address foreign attacks on our elections. As president, Senator Klobuchar will champion a voting rights and democracy reform package, including automatically registering every 18-year-old in this country to vote, banning states from purging voters from rolls for not voting in recent elections, putting same-day registration policies in place, restoring the Voting Rights Act, and passing a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
Do you believe voter fraud is a problem in the U.S.? If yes, how do you plan to you address it?
Senator Klobuchar believes there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud and was one of the Senators who led the successful effort to dissolve the so-called Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which she called “a commission in search of a problem.” At the same time, Senator Klobuchar has led the effort to expand voting rights and secure our elections from foreign interference, including by introducing legislation to protect our elections with backup paper ballots, election audits, and accountability for political ads on the internet.
Should it be a crime to enter the U.S. illegally?
Senator Klobuchar would immediately end the policy of family separation and she would change enforcement priorities so that criminal penalties are reserved for those who threaten the safety and security of our country.
Should the U.S. expand or limit legal immigration?
Senator Klobuchar supports an increase of current levels of legal immigration as part of comprehensive immigration reform.
In many areas of the country, there is a critical shortage of affordable housing. What would your administration do to address it?
Senator Klobuchar believes we must make housing more affordable for all Americans. That’s why she has released a bold plan to expand affordable housing opportunities in rural and urban areas, increase access to justice, take on discrimination in housing, revitalize neglected neighborhoods, and increase access to homeownership. To help families pay for rent, she will make housing vouchers available to all qualifying households with children.
What is your plan to address the growing national debt?
Senator Klobuchar believes we need to get serious about tackling the debt to put our country back on sound fiscal footing. As president, she will put in place a long-term plan to responsibly reduce the deficit with a balanced approach that includes both spending reductions and revenue increases by increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans. In less than three years, President Trump has added $4 trillion to the national debt. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2029, the national debt will be higher than it was right after World War II. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to tackle the debt and repeal the regressive parts of the Republican tax bill, which was projected to add over $1 trillion to the debt.
Do you think our national debt is a national security issue? Why or why not?
Senator Klobuchar believes that getting the national debt under control is an urgent priority and that doing so will make the United States stronger economically and on the world stage
Is capitalism the best economic structure for the United States? If yes, why? If no, what is better and how do you believe it will benefit Americans?
Senator Klobuchar worked in the private sector for 14 years and believes in capitalism. She also believes we need to have checks on the private sector including a strong safety net, antitrust laws, and consumer protections.
In many parts of the country, there is a skilled worker gap. How would you close that gap to get more people employed in the industries that need them?
Senator Klobuchar has been a strong advocate for supporting workers in the 21st century economy and connecting them to jobs. She will make sure that students — and our workers — are prepared for in-demand occupations by encouraging STEM education, providing tuition-free one- and two-year community college degrees and technical certifications and expanding student loan forgiveness programs to workers in in-demand occupations. She has also committed to expanding apprenticeship opportunities and benefits with the goal of doubling the number of apprenticeships to over a million by the end of her first term.
Should the government forgive student loans? If yes, why and for whom? If no, why not?
As president, Senator Klobuchar will work so that students can refinance their loan debt at lower interest rates, she will fix and strengthen the public service loan forgiveness program, and she will expand loan forgiveness for in-demand occupations. She also believes we must make college more affordable and supports a major expansion of Pell Grants and higher-education tax credits so we can help students and their families with the cost of higher education. She believes that all students who attended for-profit schools that defrauded students should be eligible for loan forgiveness.
Should community college be free to anyone who wants to attend? Should other colleges and universities be free to attend?
Senator Klobuchar is focused on connecting students — and our workers — to the jobs that are available today. She supports tuition-free one- and two-year community college degrees and technical certifications and targeting assistance for four-year degrees to the families and students that need the assistance. As president, Senator Klobuchar would work to double the maximum Pell Grant and expand eligibility to families making up to $100,000 a year.
Is more funding needed for mental health care in America? If yes, what amount and how should it be allocated? Where should that money come from?
Senator Klobuchar released a $100 billion plan to combat substance use disorders and prioritize mental health, including expanding access to treatment, launching new suicide prevention initiatives, and enforcing mental health parity laws. To pay for her plan, she will hold opioid manufacturers responsible for their role in the opioid crisis, including by placing a 2 cent fee on each milligram of active opioid ingredient in a prescription pain pill and crafting a federal Master Settlement Agreement that provides money directly to the states for the cost of addiction treatment and social services.
How would you address rising prescription drug costs, specifically for medications that are necessary for people to live, such as insulin and mental health medications?
Senator Klobuchar believes that when people are sick, their focus should be on getting better, rather than on how they can afford their prescriptions. Yet drug prices are an increasing burden across our country. That’s why she has been a champion when it comes to tackling the high costs of prescription drugs. She has authored proposals to lift the ban on Medicare negotiations for prescription drugs, allow personal importation of safe drugs from countries like Canada, and stop pharmaceutical companies from blocking less-expensive generics.
What do you believe is the biggest health care issue facing Americans? How would you solve it?
Senator Klobuchar believes that we must bring down costs to make health care affordable for all Americans. She will improve the Affordable Care Act and help bring down costs for consumers by putting a non-profit public option in place, expanding premium subsidies and providing cost-sharing reductions to lower out-of-pocket health care costs like copays and deductibles. She will also tackle the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, including by lifting the ban on Medicare negotiations for prescription drugs, allowing personal importation of safe drugs from countries like Canada and stopping pharmaceutical companies from blocking less-expensive generics.
How would you address the opioid crisis?
Senator Klobuchar’s dad struggled with alcoholism and she saw the toll that substance use disorders can take on families and communities. That’s why she was the first candidate to release a mental health and addiction plan. Her plan launches new prevention and early intervention initiatives, expands access to treatment, gives Americans a path to sustainable recovery, and invests in research into pain alternatives to opioids. To pay for her plan, Senator Klobuchar will hold opioid manufacturers responsible for their role in the opioid crisis.
Should marijuana be legalized federally for medicinal use? Should it be legalized for recreational use?
Senator Klobuchar supports legalizing marijuana.
Do you support a public health insurance option for all Americans? If yes, do you support the elimination of private health care in favor of a government-run plan, or do you support an option where Americans can choose a public or private plan? If no, why?
Senator Klobuchar supports bringing down the cost of health care for everyone by putting a non-profit public option in place that allows people to buy into affordable health insurance coverage through Medicare or Medicaid. She does not support kicking 149 million Americans off their current insurance in four years.
Should the federal government re-institute the death penalty? If yes, for what crimes?
Senator Klobuchar has opposed the death penalty from back in her time as the County Attorney. The evidence shows that the death penalty does not reduce crime, it is costly and it is discriminatory.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Amy Klobuchar shares views on gun control, immigration and more