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CEDAR RAPIDS — Former Iowa lawmaker and Obama administration ambassador Swati Dandekar is endorsing Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Klobuchar’s commitment to “improving the lives of everyone in Iowa and in our country” convinced Dandekar, who represented the Marion area in the Iowa House and Senate, to endorse her.

The endorsement follows Klobuchar’s Heartland Tour with stops in 20 Iowa counties, including visiting the Iowa State Fair and the North Iowa Democrats’ Wing Ding over the weekend as well as the release of her rural and agricultural Plan for the Heartland.

Since getting into the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Klobuchar has made 12 trips to Iowa and visited 46 counties.

Klobuchar’s qualities are “exactly what we need in our Democratic nominee and in the White House,” Dandekar said.

Dandekar, the first Indian-born American female legislator, served on the Linn-Mar school board before being elected to the Iowa House in 2002 and the Senate in 2008. She then served on the Iowa Utilities Board.

In 2016, she was nominated by President Barack Obama as ambassador to the Asian Development Bank, where she dealt with 60 countries in Asia and the Pacific Rim on energy, telecom, water and transportation issues as well as helping the bank develop infrastructure projects in many of those countries.

In her endorsement, Dandekar, who immigrated to the United States with her husband, Arvind, also cited Klobuchar’s comment that “immigrants don’t diminish America, they are America.”

“Unlike our current president, Amy respects immigrants and has worked to ensure our country’s immigration policies are compassionate,” Dandekar said. “Amy is a strong woman, and she’ll be an even stronger president. That’s why I am thrilled to do everything I can to get her elected in 2020.”

Dandekar joins community activists Melissa Fath of Iowa City, Ruth and Scott Thompson, and Reps. Ruth Anne Gaines and Marti Anderson, all of Des Moines, Jackie Wellman of West Des Moines, Shirley McAdon of Adel and former Rep. Bill Witt of Cedar Falls in endorsing Klobuchar.

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