Amy Klobuchar, a three-term senator from Minnesota, has joined the growing group of Democrats jostling to be US president, as her party tries to win back voters in a region that helped put Donald Trump in the White House.
'For every American, I'm running for you,' she told an crowd gathered on a freezing, snowy afternoon at a park in Minneapolis.
'And I promise you this: As your president, I will look you in the eye. I will tell you what I think. I will focus on getting things done. That's what I've done my whole life. And no matter what, I'll lead from the heart.'
Ms Klobuchar, who has prided herself on achieving results through bipartisan cooperation, did not utter Mr Trump's name during her kick-off speech.
But she did bemoan the conduct of 'foreign policy by tweet' and said Americans must 'stop the fear-mongering and stop the hate. ... We all live in the same country of shared dreams.'
She said that on first day as president, she would have the US rejoin an international climate agreement that Mr Trump has withdrawn from.
She spoke of the need to 'heal the heart of our democracy and renew our commitment to the common good.'
Asserting Midwestern values, she told a crowd warmed by hot chocolate, apple cider, heat lamps and bonfires: 'I don't have a political machine. I don't come from money. But what I do have is this: I have grit.'
Ms Klobuchar, who easily won a third-term last year, has pointed to her broad appeal across Minnesota as she has discussed a 2020 run. She has drawn support from voters in urban, suburban and rural areas, including in dozens of counties Mr Trump won in 2016.
She has said that success could translate to other Midwestern states such as Michigan and Wisconsin, reliably Democratic in presidential races for decades until Mr Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton.
She said the country's 'sense of community is fracturing' today, 'worn down by the petty and vicious nature of our politics. We are all tired of the shutdowns and the showdowns, the gridlock and the grandstanding.'
The list of Democrats already in the race features several better-known senators with the ability to raise huge amounts of money — Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
The field soon could expand to include prominent Democrats such as former Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
A Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll conducted by Selzer & Company in December found that Ms Klobuchar was largely unfamiliar to likely Iowa caucus-goers, with 54 per cent saying they didn't know enough about her to have an opinion, while 38 per cent had a favourable opinion and 8 percent had an unfavourable opinion.
'She starts out perhaps with a better understanding of Midwestern voters, but I think she faces the same hurdles every one of them face, which is: Are Iowans going to find them either the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump or the candidate that most aligns with their ideologies and issues?' said John Norris, a long-time Iowa-based Democratic strategist.
'I don't know that coming from Minnesota gives her any advantage with Iowans.'
Ms Klobuchar, 58, is known as a straight-shooting, pragmatist willing to work with Republicans, making her one of the Senate's most productive members at passing legislation.
Ms Klobuchar's focus in recent months has included prescription drug prices, a new farm bill and election security. She supports the 'Green New Deal,' a Democratic plan proposed this past week to combat climate change and create thousands of jobs in renewable energy.
But her legislative record has drawn criticism from both the GOP and some fellow Democrats.
Some Republicans say Ms Klobuchar is able to get things done because she pushes smaller issues. Some progressives say she lacks the kind of fire and bold ideas needed to bring significant change and excite voters.
Ms Klobuchar, a lawyer and the former prosecutor in Minnesota's largest county, raised her national profile during a Senate Judiciary Committee last fall for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexually assaulting a woman when they were both in high school.
When Ms Klobuchar asked Mr Kavanaugh whether he ever had had so much to drink that he didn't remember what happened, he turned the question around. He asked Ms Klobuchar, 'Have you?'
Unruffled, Ms Klobuchar continued as Mr Kavanaugh asked again. Mr Kavanaugh later apologised to Klobuchar, whose father is an alcoholic.
'When you have a parent who's an alcoholic, you're pretty careful about drinking,' she said. 'I was truly trying to get to the bottom of the facts and the evidence.'