U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, DFL-Minnesota, visited Austin Wednesday to thank veteran’s for their sacrifice.
“I think first of all there are so many young people that have turned out at every stop I’ve been on, everything from Inver Grove Heights to Rochester to Richfield,” Klobuchar said. “And what this is about is making sure that people remember our veterans and that their sacrifice doesn’t get forgotten.”
She visited the Austin Veterans of Foreign Wars club around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to talk during the annual Veterans Day celebration, which featured a meal and a performance by the Austin High School Jazz Band.
Klobuchar also brought some good news from the U.S. Senate, where she has worked to modernize G.I. Bill benefits for troops, to strengthen funding for veterans’ health care, and she’s authored bipartisan bills on behalf of veterans and their families to expand job training and employment opportunities and to reduce veteran homelessness.
“We actually this week in the Senate on a very strong bipartisan vote, passed not only the Military Construction Bill, with some significant increases, but also the Defense Bill,” she told audience members. “And what that means is we will not be shutting down the government on the backs of our military serving overseas and our veterans in this country. So it’s a big deal.”
Klobuchar was referring to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, a popular $80 billion measure for veterans’ programs and construction projects on military bases long delayed by infighting over the broader budget. That bill passed by a 93-0 vote Tuesday and will pass into House-Senate negotiations, where it’s expected to be discussed as part of a larger spending package.
But Klobuchar noted Wednesday’s holiday was more about thanking veterans than legislation.
“But today is really not as much about policies as we know but about thanking our veterans, thanking those who’ve served in our families,” she added. “Because there’s no bigger sacrifice than that.”
Klobuchar makes a tour on Veterans Day each year, visiting different parts of the state. She was impressed by the turnout at the Austin event, as the VFW was largely full for the event.
“I always go to some part of the state and it’s been great,” she said. “I had no idea how huge this event is in Austin, so it’s pretty impressive.”
Klobuchar explained she is also working to fix backlog issues at the Veteran’s Affairs office, holding those involved responsible for their actions; and to help with the homelessness and unemployment for veterans.