Amy Klobuchar’s Family: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

amy klobuchar family


Amy Klobuchar, who has been surging in the Democratic presidential race since the Iowa caucuses and is headed toward a strong showing in New Hampshire, is married to a lawyer/professor and has one daughter with him.

Klobuchar, the Senator from Minnesota, is married to John Bessler, who has held a number of positions in higher education, where he is regarded as a legal expert on the death penalty. Her only child is daughter Abigail Bessler, who is in her 20s. Abigail overcame early health issues to work in politics and the media in various positions, including internships.

Klobuchar is the daughter of a prominent sports journalist whose struggles with alcohol were well-known.

Here’s what you need to know about Amy Klobuchar’s family:

1. Klobuchar’s Husband John Bessler Is a Professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law

amy klobuchar husband john bessler

GettyAmy Klobuchar’s husband, John Bessler, and daughter, Abigail Klobuchar Bessler, shake hands with voters.

Klobuchar’s attorney husband John D. Bessler works as an Associate Professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, where he teaches a death penalty seminar, according to his bio at Georgetown Law, where he also is an adjunct professor.

The bio says that Bessler previously taught the death penalty seminar at the University of Minnesota Law School, The George Washington University Law School, the University of Baltimore School of Law, and Rutgers School of Law.

“He clerked for U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Mason of the District of Minnesota, and practiced law full-time for many years in the area of civil litigation as a partner at the Minneapolis law firm of Kelly & Berens, P.A.,” the bio says.

2. Bessler Is Also an Author

john bessler amy klobuchar husband

GettyU.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) participates in a reenacted swearing-in with her husband John Bessler, daughter Abigail Bessler and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden January 3, 2013 in Washington, DC.

According to his university bio, Klobuchar’s husband is also a prolific author, especially in the area of the death penalty. He’s written 10 books.

“Two of those books, Death in the Dark: Midnight Executions in America (Northeastern University Press, 1997) and Legacy of Violence: Lynch Mobs and Executions in Minnesota (University of Minnesota Press, 2003), were Minnesota Book Award finalists. Another of his books, Writing for Life: The Craft of Writing for Everyday Living, was a Midwest Book Award finalist and the winner of an Independent Publisher Book Award,” the bio says.

He received his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Minnesota and attended Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington. “He also has an M.F.A. degree from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a master’s degree in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University,” says the bio.

His university classes have ranged in topics from comparative criminal law to international human rights law.

“He is also of counsel to the Minneapolis law firm of Berens & Miller, P.A., which represents a variety of clients and handles complex commercial litigation. In 2018, he received the University System of Maryland Board of Regents’ Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship, Research or Creative Activity,” says the university bio.

Elle Magazine reports that Klobuchar met her husband in a pool hall. She told the site that her husband “is in fact the first man to be active in the Senate spouse club, okay?”

3. Amy’s Daughter Abigail Bessler, Who Works for the New York City Council, Has Struggled With a Rare Medical Condition

According to MPR News, Amy’s daughter Abigail was born in 1995. She has a “rare condition where she cannot swallow,” according to the news site. However, she’s gone on to achieve a string of accomplishments.

“She was sick for so long,” Klobuchar told “It was really scary. That’s part of why we had one child. But she’s gotten better every year. We don’t even think about it anymore.”

Klobuchar lobbied for a bill to allow mothers to stay in the hospital for 48 hours after giving birth because she had to leave in 24 hours, according to the Minnesota news site.

In 2017, she shared a photo of her daughter’s college graduation on Instagram, writing, “Congratulations Abigail! Dad and I were so proud of you as you crossed that stage today to get your college degree (with many high honors at that)! It wasn’t that long ago that you were taking that one big step up the stairs of the yellow school bus and now you’re stepping out into the world as a kind, well-spoken and grounded young woman, with a dose of good humor that will serve you well in the years to come. We love you! Mom and Dad.”

According to her LinkedIn page, Abigail works as a legislative director for the New York City Council, a position she’s held since 2018. Before that, she was a speechwriting intern for West Wing Writers and a policy intern for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016.

She was also an intern for CBS News and a ThinkProgress intern for the Center for American Progress. Abigail has a bachelor of arts degree from Yale University in political science. She has also performed stand up comedy and was editor of the Yale Daily News Magazine.

4. Klobuchar’s Father Was a Sports Writer Who Struggled With Alcohol

jim klobuchar

Jim Klobuchar

Elle Magazine reports that Klobuchar’s father was a well-known sports journalist. His name is Jim Klobuchar.

The Washington Post described Jim Klobuchar as “a Midwestern celebrity journalist, a man of the people and a fiery alcoholic who needed his daughter’s help.”

The Post described Jim as “a daily columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune; part sportswriter, raconteur-adventurer, voice for the voiceless, and needler of the ruling class.” The Star Tribune described how Jim was arrested multiple times for drunk driving. He eventually stopped drinking, and his daughter has openly discussed the effect of his drinking on her. Amy’s dad is still alive.

5. Amy’s Mother Worked as a Teacher

The Star Tribune story says that Klobuchar’s mother is named Rose (Heuberger) Klobuchar. Her parents married in 1960, and her mother worked as a teacher in Plymouth. She stopped teaching when Amy was born, the newspaper reports.

Amy has described remembering her mother crying about the John F. Kennedy assassination, the newspaper reported. Her parents divorced, and her mother died in 2010.

“I am the daughter of a lifelong public school teacher and proud union member,” Amy wrote on Instagram, sharing the above photo with her mother. “As President, I will always fight for public education and the right to organize.”

Amy has also spoken about her grandparents, saying on the campaign trail, “I stand before you as the granddaughter of an iron ore miner.”

READ NEXT: Learn More About Amy Klobuchar’s Husband.