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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Senator Al Franken sworn in

From comedian to Air America host to senator... at last:
At 11:05 a.m., Sen. Amy Klobuchar was recognized and began the swearing in ceremony on the Senate floor. On defeated Republican Norm Coleman, who conceeded last week after the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling, Klobuchar said: "He did what was right for Minnesota."

She points out it has been 246 days since election day.

On Franken: "He brings with him that same energy and passion and idealism as our friend Paul Wellstone."
Vice President Joe Biden, as is customary, presided over the swearing in. For his photo-op, Franken used a Bible that previously belonged to Paul and Sheila Wellstone, two of the greatest progressive champions in Minnesota's history.

(Paul Wellstone served two terms in the United States Senate. First elected in 1990 thanks to a massive grassroots campaign that organized and mobilized young voters, he and Sheila died in a tragic plane crash in 2002. Their legacy lives in today in the form of Wellstone Action).

Franken's new committee assignments include Judiciary (that means he'll be voting on Sonia Sotomayor's nomination soon) and Health (where he'll have the chance to be deeply involved in crafting healthcare reform legislation).

Franken's fellow Democrats are very excited about his arrival in Washington. When I asked Senator Maria Cantwell about Franken's long-awaited victory last week, her face lit up and she said that she thought Franken would be a big help in getting a good healthcare reform bill through the Senate. Let's hope so. Minnesota's new junior senator certainly has taken office at an opportune time.

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