Franken Officially Resigns, A Look Back at His Senate Career

Baihly Warfield
January 02, 2018 10:44 PM

Al Franken officially submitted his letter of resignation from his U.S. Senate seat Tuesday afternoon. 

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He announced that he would step down nearly a month ago. By the time of his announcement, eight women had accused him of sexual misconduct, and two-thirds of Senate Democrats had said he should step down. 

Franken's entrance into the Senate was rocky too. The seat sat vacant for six months until Franken's victory over incumbent Norm Coleman was certified. He won by just 312 votes. 

"Very excited about getting to Washington and doing the work of the people of Minnesota," Franken said in July 2009, days before he was sworn in. "You know up here on the Range that we're in a tough recession." 

Franken said he was inspired by Paul Wellstone's legacy, and he wanted to carry on the tradition of making people's lives better. 

"He did politics for all the right reasons," Franken said of Wellstone in 2009. 

The senator was involved in attaching some provisions on the Affordable Care Act and was a proponent of net neutrality long before the recent buzz. 

"This is absolutely vital to innovation, commerce, to freedom of speech on the internet," Franken told Eyewitness News in 2014. 

More recently, he got attention for tough questions during Senate confirmation hearings for Trump nominees like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. 

"If there is any evidence anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?" Franken asked Sessions in March 2017. 

He hasn't said what exactly he'll do next. But he said in a couple December speeches that he is confident his colleagues will carry on the work. 

"Politics is about improving people's lives," Franken said in his final Senate speech. "The American people know that to be true, and they fill me with hope for our future."

As is state law, Gov. Mark Dayton appointed former Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to fill the seat. She also submitted her formal resignation from the state office Tuesday. 

Smith will be sworn in alongside Alabama Senator-Elect Doug Jones Wednesday. 


Baihly Warfield

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