(by Jackie Callow)
Last week Minnesota Sen. Al Franken announced his coming resignation, amid a growing list of harassment and inappropriate behavior accusations.
Franken has remained adamant that the claims were inaccurate or unfounded, but resigned none the less.
On Wednesday the announcement of Franken’s successor was made official, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton appointed current Leuitenant Governor Tina Smith.
Smith has been tasked to temporarily fill the Senate seat for a one-year term, ending in January 2019, until a special election in Nov. 2018 to permanently fill Franken’s seat.
Smith originally served as chief of staff to Gov. Dayton, but was selected to be his running mate in his second campaign for governor. Smith was elected lieutenant governor in 2014.
In an address from the state capitol Smith said, “Though I never anticipated this moment, I’m resolved to do everything that I can to move Minnesota forward, and I will be a fierce advocate in the United States Senate for economic opportunity and fairness.”
Smith has stated her intention to run in the special election, which was one of Dayton’s criteria in searching for a replacement to fill the vacant seat.
For his part, Franken applauded Smith’s appointment today in a statement, “She is a dedicated public servant who’s worked tirelessly on behalf of Minnesotans, and Governor Dayton couldn’t have made a better choice for this job. Her record of accomplishment as Lieutenant Governor demonstrates that she’ll be an effective senator who knows how to work across party lines to get things done for Minnesota. I look forward to working with her on ensuring a speedy and seamless transition,” his statement read.