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Sen. Klobuchar visits with vets in BE

By Staff | Jun 5, 2011


With very little fanfare, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar made a quick visit to Blue Earth on Tuesday.

The senator presented a U.S. flag that had flown over the nation’s Capitol Building to the Blue Earth American Legion Post.

Plus, she met with a small group of local veterans to discuss their issues and concerns.

The Blue Earth visit was the last stop on a two-day Memorial Day weekend tour of southern Minnesota.

Klobuchar was a featured speaker at the Fort Snelling Memorial Day event.

She also spoke at the Pipestone troop deployment ceremony and at events in Marshall, Worthington and Slayton.

At the 5:30 p.m. stop in Blue Earth the senator gave local veterans an update on activities in the Senate which might affect them.

Then, she answered several questions.

Faribault County Commissioner Tom Warmka asked how the effort to trim the national debt will have on veterans’ services.

Klobuchar says she expects those benefits to stay in place.

“There are other ways to trim the debt without affecting veterans, seniors and students,” she says. “We just need to put forth a bipartisan effort.”

Klobuchar listened to the veterans other concerns and promised her staff would provide a full explanation to some of their questions.

“I really feel we are doing a better job of helping our returning vets than was done in the past, say after the Vietnam war,” she explains. “We are treating them with more respect.”

Several of the younger veterans present agreed that they are able to take advantage of many benefits.

Warmka, however, had another question.

“Is there a way a veteran who has a higher income can qualify for benefits,” he asks. “I qualify because I was injured. But, my neighbor served right with me, was not injured, and now doesn’t qualify because he has too many assets.”

Klobuchar promised to look into the way veterans can qualify for help.

The senator came to Blue Earth not only to present a flag and visit with local veterans, but also because she had been invited.

“The senator was asked to speak at the Blue Earth Memorial Day program,” her aide, Chuck Ackerman says. “She was unable to attend the ceremony on Monday, but she decided to stop on Tuesday.”

Legion member A.B. Russ had written Klobuchar with the invitation, and included a letter about the dedication of the new gravestone for Civil War Veteran James Mead.

On Tuesday evening, Klobuchar had a chance to thank Russ for the invitation.

“I would have liked to have been here for the dedication,” Sen. Klobuchar told Russ. “I am impressed that you worked so hard to get the tombstone for the Civil War soldier.”