MINNEAPOLIS — For the first time ever, a Wayzata High School graduate is running for president.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, 58, announced Sunday she will be running for president as she stood in front of thousands of people at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis. Fitting for Minnesota, Klobuchar made the announcement when it was about 15 degrees and snowing.

"So today, on an island in the middle of the mighty Mississippi, in our nation’s heartland, at a time when we must heal the heart of our democracy and renew our commitment to the common good, I stand before you as the granddaughter of an iron ore miner, the daughter of a teacher and a newspaperman, the first woman elected to the United States Senate from the state of Minnesota, to announce my candidacy for president of the United States," Klobuchar said in her speech announcing she's seeking the Democratic nomination for president.

"And I promise you this: As your president, I will look you in the eye. I will tell you what I think. I will focus on getting things done. That’s what I’ve done my whole life," Klobuchar said.

Throughout her speech, Klobuchar used the Mississippi River, which was flowing behind her, as a metaphor for her campaign.

“Let us cross the river of our divides and walk across our sturdy bridge to higher ground,” she said.

Klobuchar outlined a platform that includes expanding voter protections, improving cybersecurity, universal background checks and  gun legislation, and climate change, which drew a reaction from President Donald Trump on Twitter.

Klobuchar did take a few jabs at the president in her speech.

“We need to stand strong — and consistently — with our allies. We need to be clear in our purpose. We must respect our front line troops, diplomats and intelligence officers... who are out there every day risking their lives for us ... they deserve better than foreign policy by tweet,” Klobuchar said.

She also responded to the president's tweet on Twitter.

During an information news conference following her announcement, Klobuchar said she is “tough enough to take on Donald Trump.”

“I would have liked to see him sitting out here in the snow for an hour giving this speech,” she said.

Klobuchar also addressed some of the recent headlines that said she berated employees and that she was having trouble finding someone to run her campaign because of her tough management style.

“... Yes, I can be tough, and yes I can push people. I know that. But in the end, there are so many great stories of our staff that have been with me for years who have gone on to do incredible things and I have, I’d say, high expectations for myself. I have high expectations for the people that work for me, but I have high expectations for this country. And that’s what we need, someone who is focused on getting things done for the country. That is willing to cross the river of our divides, that’s willing to walk the sturdy bridge to higher ground, and that is what this campaign is going to be about," Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar a Wayzata alumna

Klobuchar grew up in Plymouth and was the valedictorian of her Wayzata High School class in 1978. She then went on to graduate magna cum laude from Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School.

Before taking her seat in the U.S. Senate in 2007, Klobuchar served as the Hennepin County attorney for eight years.

Klobuchar received the Wayzata High School Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999.

9,000 supporters

Klobuchar’s campaign said in a news release more than 9,000 supporters attended the campaign launch event on Sunday.

Among those who attended the event was Minnesota state Rep. Patty Acomb, DFL-Minnetonka, who attended the event because she wanted to show support for a presidential candidate from Minnesota.

“It’s not very often we have this opportunity and what a perfect day for it. She’s a great representative of our state,” Acomb said.

“I think [Klobuchar] would be the kind of candidate, just as she’s been the senator for the state, very practical, very pragmatic, and you know, I think that Amy is a relatable person that we all feel like we know. We call her Amy. She feels like one of us, and I think … she would do the same thing at the national level,” Acomb said.

Then there was Marvin Rush, who left his home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at 6 a.m. Sunday to attend Klobuchar’s announcement. Sioux Falls is about a four-hour drive when it’s not snowing.

“I want to see the next president of the United States now that she’s running,” Rush said.

Volunteers handed out hand warmers and cookies to Klobuchar’s supporters, and there were 100 gallons of hot chocolate and 100 gallons of apple cider (about 26,000 cups total) available for people to sip on to stay warm.

“We’re true Minnesotans. True Minnesotans come out to support the senator we’ve voted for,” Scott Herzog, of West St. Paul, said. With an American flag in his hat and a green Amy for America sticker on his jacket, he arrived at Boom Island Park a few hours before the event started.

Herzog added that Klobuchar is a senator that’s “got attitude” and gets things done, noting she’s not shy and doesn’t back down from challenges.

Teri Linander of Apple Valley came wearing her broomball pants and new boots, saying Klobuchar is appealing to Democrats and Republicans, adding she works across the aisle.

Republican Party comments

The Republican Party of Minnesota released a statement Sunday following Klobuchar's announcement, with Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan saying:

"Today, Sen. Amy Klobuchar officially announced her run for president with a theme of having it both ways. Klobuchar appears to want to position herself as a moderate from heartland USA in a party that is rapidly embracing socialism. She touts bipartisanship but supports arguably the most progressive piece of legislation, the Green New Deal, ever introduced in Congress. Throughout her time in the Senate, Klobuchar made a career of having it both ways, accomplishing little simply to appease everyone. It's time to choose, Sen. Klobuchar."

Melissa Turtinen is the multimedia reporter for Lakeshore Weekly News. She's passionate about adding context to stories and informing people about what's going on in their community. She enjoys being outside, traveling and good beer.

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