‘I’m not giving up my voice…’
(Minneapolis Star-Tribune) Al Franken resigned from the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
“Serving the State of Minnesota in the U.S. Senate has been a privilege and an honor,” Franken wrote in his letter of resignation to Gov. Mark Dayton. “I am grateful to Minnesotans for their giving me the chance to serve our state and our nation, and I am proud to have worked on their behalf.”
The resignation became official at noon EST on Tuesday.
Franken’s replacement, Lt. Gov. and former Planned Parenthood executive Tina Smith, was to be sworn in shortly after Congress reconvened Wednesday afternoon for a new session.
Franken’s resignation, which he announced last month, followed a series of allegations by more than a half-dozen women that he had touched or kissed them without permission.
Franken initially tried to weather the allegations, but resigned after several dozen of his fellow Democratic senators demanded he step down.
Franken’s resignation letter made no mention of the circumstances around his departure.
It was terse, at just 70 words total.
Franken to date has said little about his post-Senate plans, beyond stating that he intends to remain engaged.
In Minneapolis last week, his first public appearance since the allegations broke in November, he told about 300 supporters, family members and friends that he would continue to work on issues from climate change to net neutrality.
“I may be leaving the Senate, but I’m not giving up my voice,” he said.
The former “Saturday Night Live” writer and radio host was elected to the Senate in 2008.
Once Franken vacates the office, Smith will take on the twin tasks of representing Minnesota and running for the seat, which is up for election in November.
One Republican is in the race already, state Sen. Karin Housley of St. Marys Point.
And former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann said in a recent TV interview that she has been asked to run and is considering it.
Smith will be succeeded as lieutenant governor by Republican state Sen. Michelle Fischbach, who as president of the Senate is next in line of succession.
Her elevation to Dayton’s No. 2 post has created uncertainty in Minnesota’s Legislature, with Fischbach hoping to retain her Senate seat but facing a likely legal challenge if she decides to do so.
Republished with permission from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune via iCopyright license.