By: Allison Roorda,
Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 12:22 am

Mark Santana, left, listens in on Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s explanation of what the state needs during the senator’s visit to Shattuck-St. Mary’s School. (Allison Roorda/Daily News)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., braved the Minnesota weather on Monday to visit some of her constituents.

Klobuchar stopped at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School on Monday evening, following a trip to St. Peter City Hall and Itron in Waseca. She spoke with St. Peter officials about flood preparation efforts and discussed her innovation agenda in Waseca. At SSM, she chatted with students about her views on what the state needs.

“We’ve got to do something about the deficit. We have to do something about educational reform. And we have to do something about spending reform,” Klobuchar said.

The group of more than two dozen SSM students gathered not only listen to Klobuchar, but also to ask questions.

“We’ve got 25 students here,” said John Johnson, upper school director at SSM. “It’s a diverse representation of different student groups we have on campus.”

The students included members of student government at SSM, student leaders in dorms, proctors and captains of athletic teams.

Education reform has been something Klobuchar has been working on recently.

She introduced legislation in December 2010 that directs the National Science Foundation to encourage higher education institutions to implement programs and strategies focused on research and the commercialization of products.

The legislation passed the Senate as part of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010.

“We’re having trouble competing on an international basis because other countries have more students going into science, technology and engineering,” Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar’s provision would help implement measures that support innovation through the National Science Foundation, which funds research for more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the United States.

Klobuchar also took questions from the students. One asked about the atmosphere at the State of the Union address in Washington D.C. Klobuchar agreed that governments, both state and national, need more bipartisan agreement.

Klobuchar compared partisan division to a school event at SSM if the girls all sat on one side of the audience and the boys sat on the other.

“I’m a Democrat, but I come from a background that’s not as partisan, being a prosecutor,” Klobuchar said. “I think I’ve done a good job reaching across the aisle.”