AUSTIN, Minn. - Sen. Amy Klobuchar arrived at the prestigious Hormel Institute on Thursday for a round table discussion with leaders of the institute followed by a tour of the cancer research center's facilities.
The Senator peppered researchers with questions as she was led through the facility by new executive director Dr. Robert Clarke.
The Senator is particularly interested in the research being conducted into biofuels. Klobuchar says there is emerging evidence that biofuels including ethanol are less likely to contain carcinogens than are fossil fuels. The Senator says the ethanol industry is extremely important to her corn-growing constituents. She says this is an area of common ground she shares with Republican colleagues Senator Joni Ernst and Senator Chuck Grassley.
"Senator Grassley not far away from here and I and Senator Ernst have been doing a lot of work right now on this," the Senator said after completing her tour of the Institute. "We want to make sure that with a new administration coming in that biofuels aren't forgotten and we see them as the clean fuel they are as we also work on electric vehicles."
The Senator made frequent mentions of her Republican colleagues today in a visit laced with bipartisan themes. She spoke of Congressman Jim Hagedorne's battle with kidney cancer and how that fight is shedding light on the importance of cancer research.
KIMT News 3 took the opportunity to ask Senator Klobuchar about the seemingly increasing polarization of our political parties. She says it is important for the parties to work together.
"It's not like you want to be a pollyanna about this," she said with a smile. "We know how hard it is but you've always got to wake up every day and ask what do I want to get done and how am I going to do it? And, that means working with people you don't always agree with for the betterment of this country. And, that means treating people with respect even when you don't agree with them."
Senator Klobuchar says she uses the words of the late Senator John McCain for guidance and repeated the words in his autobiography. "There's nothing more liberating than a mission larger than yourself."
Klobuchar says the common ground found by those in congress is rarely the stuff of headlines, but she maintains it happens more often than we know. She pointed to the ability of Republicans and Democrats to pass Covid relief measures as an example that leaves her optimistic.
"Democrats and Republicans in congress rose to the occasion and did two emergency relief packages that we're really important."
For his part, Dr. Clarke came away from the Senator's visit gratified.
"Oh, it's wonderful," the Doctor said enthusiastically. "I mean she's been a tremendous supporter of the institute over the years. This is her sixth time at the institute. Of course, we've been here 80 years. Our 80th anniversary will be next year, but having her come, spend the time with us, learn more about who we are, where we're gonna go next. It's just wonderful to have that support and that engagement."