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Amy Klobuchar 3

Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding on Aug. 9 at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake.

If corn is king in Iowa, Senator Amy Klobuchar's presidential campaign might've just gotten a royally important endorsement.

A week out from the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding in Clear Lake, the senior Democratic senator from Minnesota has added Floyd County farmer and former National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson to her roster of supporters.

Johnson, who has lived and farmed in Floyd County with her husband Maurice for more than 40 years, said that Klobuchar's just-announced plan for rural America resonates with her. 

"She understands the challenges that rural America goes through and cares and I think she’s someone who can beat Trump in 2020 and she's someone who can appeal to farmers like me."

Johnson was introduced to the campaign by an agriculture-focused colleague in Minnesota who asked if she'd be interested in taking a look at Klobuchar. When Klobuchar unveiled her ag policy, Johnson introduced her. 

The sixth generation farmer, who has worked to build international trade markets as a part of the Maizall International Maze Alliance, added that the method the president has taken to bolster farmers and win a trade war with China hasn't worked.

"He’s used tariffs and said a trade war would be easy to win. So we’ve lost our market share in China and now that market’s being taken over by other countries."

In 2018, Pam and Maurice Johnson were awarded at the Iowa State Fair with an Iowa Farm Environmental Leaders Award which recognized their contribution to healthy soil and water quality.

Contours of the plan

The plan, which is called "Plan for the Heartland," would, among other things, expand commodity support, disaster programs, and federal crop insurance for small and family-owned farms, ensure safety net programs for such farmers, invest in rural infrastructure as part of a broader $1 trillion investment, work to bring high-speed broadband to as many American households as possible, tackle agricultural consolidation and expand rural healthcare. 

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As part of commodity support and federal crop insurance expansion, the average premium subsidy for crop insurance would increase.

The so-called safety net for farmers would be strengthened by the creation and expansion of programs that educate farmers on available programs and opportunities such as extension programs through land grant universities. 

That rural infrastructure investment would revolve around repairing rural bridges as well as sending additional resources to the USDA’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. 

If implemented, Klobuchar's health care policies would establish a Rural Emergency Hospital classification under Medicare. That would provide hospitals more support if they maintained an emergency room and provide outpatient services.

While Klobuchar hasn't come out in favor of "Medicare-for-all," as some of her more progressive challengers have, she does support adding a public option that would allow states to create public health insurance plans through Medicaid. Family premiums would level off at about 9.5%. 

Additional support

Another cosigner of Klobuchar's campaign and its plan is the Jensen family from Iowa Falls.

The retired commodity crop farming family said they're going to caucus for Klobuchar on Feb. 3, 2020, because the former Hennepin County attorney knows how to get things done.

"She has experience with the issues farmers face every day and, with her position on the Senate Agriculture Committee, she has solutions to those problems."

Along with the Wing Ding stop, Klobuchar stopped in 20 Iowa counties in three days, 17 of which were counties that Trump won in 2016.

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Reach Reporter Jared McNett at 641-421-0527. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @TwoHeadedBoy98. 

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