At Issue: December 24 - Sen. Franken Sets Official Resignation Date, Affordable Housing Task Force Created

December 24, 2017 04:28 PM

Sen. Al Franken Announces Official Resignation Date; First GOP Candidate Enters 2018 Special Election

We now know when Minnesota U.S. Senator Al Franken will resign from office. Franken announced his last day will Jan. 2.


Some of Franken's Senate colleagues had urged him to reconsider leaving, despite being accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women. Franken did not change his mind, and instead delivered a series of farewell speeches on the Senate floor this week.

"I will continue trying to be an educated citizen and an advocate and an activist," Franken said. "But over the last eight and a half years, as I have had the privilege of serving the people of Minnesota, I have also gained a new perspective on the issues we face and the way we here in Washington make decisions." 

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will be sworn into the U.S. Senate the day after Franken resigns. Gov. Mark Dayton chose Smith to fill the seat until a special election is held in 2018.

This week, State Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Mary's Point) announced she would run in that election next year. 

The move also creates some controversy regarding who'll be taking over as Lieutenant Governor at the start of the year. This week, the Attorney General's office issued an opinion on whether or not Republican Senate President Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, can continue to hold her senate seat and serve as Lieutenant Governor at the same time.

The opinion casted some doubt on that possibility, but said the final decision should ultimately be up to a judge. 

Gov. Dayton Creates Task Force to Address Affordable Housing "Crisis" in Minnesota

Gov. Dayton is creating a new task force to address affordable housing in Minnesota. The task force is made up of advocates covering nonprofit, social justice and business groups. 

Dayton said affordable housing is a persistent problem in the state. Ironically, he said it's been made worse by the economic recovery because wages for low and middle-income families haven't grown, and the cost to rent or buy has gone up. 

The task force will come up with recommendations to the legislature for the 2018 session. It has also been asked to issue a report by the end of July 2018.

Dayton said this is one issue he regrets not working on earlier during his time in office. He hopes the next administration will take on the group's recommendations. 


Amanda Theisen

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