Published: Mon, January 08, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Sen. Tina Smith defends Al Franken's decision to step down

Sen. Tina Smith defends Al Franken's decision to step down

First, Smith replaces Al Franken, following his resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations, and that feels like triumph in and of itself.

Monday is Sen. Tina Smith's (D-MN) first official day on Capitol Hill and CNN host Alisyn Camerota couldn't help but notice that she still has an air of enthusiasm and idealism left.

By Friday, the Minnesota Democrat had returned to her home state for a weekend tour through the Twin Cities, its northern suburbs, Duluth and Minnesota's Iron Range region. Smith will have to balance the workload of the Senate with pressures of a campaign.

Smith is a longtime Democratic political operative who served as Dayton's top aide before joining him on the ticket in 2014.

She says she is focused on doing this job in her own way.

Governor Dayton also had some more personal remarks about Tina's qualifications for her new role.

In her first week, Smith dealt with rudimentary paperwork for the Senate and finding a place to live in Washington - a process she called "apartment speed dating". "She supports the working family and the people less fortunate, and that's what we need to get back to in this country".

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Mohsin Khan, the proctor said regarding his photo that surfaced on social media, where Wani can be seen holding an AK-47 rifle.

Her staff said Saturday that the senator spoke with Nolan this week prior to visiting Eveleth and Duluth.

"I will continue to work very hard on rural broadband, i will continue to work very hard on making health care more affordable", Sen. She plans to push to increase early childhood education options - a marquee issue during her time in Dayton's administration - and will press a familiar Democratic goal of raising income taxes on the nation's wealthiest earners in a Congress that just passed a tax cuts package.

Al Franken's replacement in the U.S. Senate is ready to take office. "I know that she will be a superb senator, representing the best interests of our state and our citizens".

"She's witnessed the pain and suffering over the years", he said.

No Democrats have emerged to challenge Smith for the party's nod.

Smith said the rise of steel imports - up 18 percent a year ago through November - puts a strain on families, communities and businesses in northeastern Minnesota. "Everywhere I'm going I want to talk to people about what I believe is the most important thing because when I'm in Washington, I'm going to be a fierce advocate for Minnesotans and advocate for economic opportunity and fairness for everybody in this state, not just some people in this state".

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