Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Attorney General Keith Ellison square off in a lively debate

Facing off on issues like sexual harassment and healthcare, Sen. Amy Klobuchar hosted an evenly-matched debate with her rival, Attorney General Keith Ellison, at a hotel in Minneapolis on Tuesday night.

A moderator from KTSP-TV asked the crowd to raise their hand if they were familiar with the two candidates’ platforms and aligned closely with the party platforms. Klobuchar raised her hand, while Ellison gave his when pressed by the moderator to do so. After each candidate answered, the crowd showed its appreciation with applause.

Klobuchar stated that, as a woman, she believes “we’re held to a higher standard,” and that Minnesota needs a leader who will make policies that work for all Minnesotans.

She added that the “economy is no longer the dominant issue,” and talked about the importance of women’s healthcare, such as childbirth and pre-natal care.

Ellison reiterated that women want to work but don’t want to be burdened by child care and balancing family and work, and that it is important to find ways to include people from different backgrounds, such as working mothers.

Echoing past conversations at the debate, Ellison gave numerous examples of things he has done to empower women, such as signing an executive order with the goal of protecting women’s access to safe, healthy food at large food sellers.

Echoing Ellison’s remarks about women’s health, Klobuchar talked about expanding access to preventive care, including free, 24-hour cancer screenings, and making it easier for mothers to get back to work after delivering their babies.

Both candidates emphasized a need for greater community engagement, specifically bringing more people into the political process. Ellison stated, “We need to engage people to the left and right,” while Klobuchar joked, “We’re sitting right there, and you know what I think that’s doing?”

Klobuchar then attempted to appeal to her audience by saying, “I’m not a token here; I don’t just know everybody else’s name. I work here.”

After both candidates answered their questions, the audience gave them an enthusiastic cheer, and the moderators gave them each a B. Each candidate gave a pointed reply to the audience, and seemed to know which areas they should be focusing on the next several weeks until Election Day.

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