Minutes ago, Senator-elect Al Franken walked down the steps of his downtown Minneapolis townhouse and made the final, and very brief, victory speech of the 2008 Senate campaign. With his wife Franni standing behind him, Franken noted that he had gotten a “very gracious call” from Norm Coleman. “We agreed that it is time to bring this state together.”
“It was a very gracious call. He said it was a very hard fought campaign. I said, ‘Norm, it couldn’t have been closer.’”
What he was thinking during Coleman’s call: “This is nice. This is a nice way to end this.”
Emotions:”Thrilled and honored by the faith Minnesotans have placed in me” but also “humbled” by the closeness of the election and the “enormity” of the tasks ahead of him.
Lesson learned: “I won by 312 votes, so I really have to earn the trust of the people who didn’t vote for me.”
Next stop: up to the Iron Range for some parades
Priorities: health care, education, energy, to “restore” the nation’s standing in the world and “put people to work at home.”
Committee assignments: 1) Health, Education, Labor and Pension, 2) Judiciary, 3) Indian Affairs, 4) Aging.
What’s he been doing the past eight months:”We’ve been doing a lot. I’ve been going back and forth to Washington. I have a staff in place. I can hit the ground, if not running, trotting.”
What else he’s been doing: raising money, having people over to dinner who can help him get things done in Washington
After 15 minutes, the new senator and his wife trotted back up the steps and through the green door of the townhouse.
Here’s Franken’s prepared statement:
We have a lot of work to do in Washington, but that’s why I signed up for the job in the first place. When we started this campaign way back in February 2007, I said that Americans have never backed away from tough challenges, and Minnesotans have always led the way.
Working with our fantastic senior Senator, Amy Klobuchar, I’m going to fight hard to put people to work, improve education, make Minnesota the epicenter of a new renewable energy economy, and make quality health care accessible and affordable for all Minnesotans.
No matter whether you voted for me, or for Senator Coleman, or for Senator Barkley, or whether you voted at all, I want the people of Minnesota to know that I’m ready to work for all of you, and that I’m committed to being a voice for all Minnesotans in the U.S. Senate.