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Al Franken
Senator Al Franken was born on May 21, 1951, and grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. He graduated from Harvard in 1973, where he met his wife Franni. They've been married for 34 years, and have two children: daughter Thomasin, 29, and son Joe, 25.

Before running for the Senate, Al spent 37 years as a comedy writer, author, and radio talk show host and has taken part in seven USO tours, visiting our troops overseas in Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo and Uzbekistan - as well as visiting Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait four times.

In 2008, Al was elected to the Senate as a member of the DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) Party from Minnesota, and was sworn in July of 2009 following a statewide hand recount.

Since being sworn in, Al has worked with his colleagues in the Senate to improve the lives of Minnesotans. Almost immediately, he introduced legislation providing disabled veterans with service dogs, working with Republican Sens. Johnny Isakson, John Ensign and Lindsey Graham. Shortly after he secured $2 million to begin providing these services. He has also worked to protect the rights of thousands of employees of defense contractors and with Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe to ensure that women in the military have the same access to emergency contraception that their civilian counterparts do. During the debate on health care reform, Al fought successfully to limit profits, administration and marketing costs in the health insurance industry and, with Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, he secured funding for diabetes prevention. More recently, he has fought to end conflicts of interest in credit ratings, a key piece of Wall Street Reform.

Entries by Al Franken

The Republicans' Big Health Care 'Idea' Is Complete Nonsense

(248) Comments | Posted February 26, 2016 | 6:46 PM

If you watched the Republican debate on Thursday, you probably noticed the candidates agreeing that insurance companies should be allowed to sell policies across state lines.

"We have to get rid of the lines around the states," said Donald Trump, making vigorous circles with his hands for emphasis, "so that...

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You're Getting Ripped Off By Forced Mandatory Arbitration -- Here's How to Stop It

(47) Comments | Posted November 9, 2015 | 3:41 PM

Forced arbitration rigs the game in favor of big corporations and against consumers and employees. And recently, a New York Times investigation has exposed just how prevalent this damaging practice is; indeed, the story almost certainly affects you, personally.

If you've ever opened a credit card, rented...

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Tomorrow Could Be the Beginning of the End for Net Neutrality. You Should Be Worried.

(82) Comments | Posted May 14, 2014 | 12:55 PM

Tomorrow is an important day for the future of the Internet. That's when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will cast a crucial vote that could send us down a dangerous and misguided path toward destroying the Internet as we know it. That path could end with an Internet of haves...

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What Is Speaker Boehner Waiting for on ENDA?

(347) Comments | Posted November 7, 2013 | 3:35 PM

As we debated -- and ultimately passed -- the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) this week, I discovered something fascinating: Americans were frankly surprised to learn that in the majority of states, it's still perfectly legal to fire someone because they're gay. You can be a hard worker, show up on...

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Keeping Discrimination Out of Minnesota's Constitution

(342) Comments | Posted October 16, 2012 | 11:04 AM

Earlier this month, Franni and I celebrated another wedding anniversary. We've been married for 37 years -- many of them happy.

I love that joke. But I love Franni even more. Being married to her is the best thing that ever happened to me.

And I've never understood why we...

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Putting an End to Secret Campaign Contributions

(590) Comments | Posted July 16, 2012 | 11:08 AM

Today, unless I'm pleasantly surprised, Republicans will once again block the Senate from considering the DISCLOSE Act -- a piece of legislation that would bring at least a modicum of transparency to our badly broken campaign finance system.

But let me back up.

Every citizen of a democracy is supposed...

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How Privacy Has Become an Antitrust Issue

(153) Comments | Posted March 30, 2012 | 5:11 PM

Below is the speech delivered by Sen. Franken (D-Minn.) to the American Bar Association Atnitrust Section as prepared for delivery.

More than a century ago - with manufacturing conglomerates engaged in widespread anti-competitive behavior, hundreds of short-line railroads consolidating into omnipotent transport concerns, and Standard Oil building a monopoly...

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Why I Voted Against the National Defense Authorization Act

(1272) Comments | Posted December 16, 2011 | 2:09 PM

Yesterday, the Senate passed a bill that includes provisions on detention that I found simply unacceptable. These provisions are inconsistent with the liberties and freedoms that are at the core of the system our Founders established. And while I did in fact vote for an earlier version of the legislation,...

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Net Neutrality Is Under Attack... Again

(685) Comments | Posted November 8, 2011 | 12:30 PM

This week, the free and open Internet millions of Americans have come to depend on is under attack.

In a procedural move, Senate Republicans are trying to overturn the rules that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) put in place late last year to help protect net neutrality -- the simple...

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Fighting For America's Middle Class, Netroots Nation 2011

(822) Comments | Posted June 23, 2011 | 2:49 PM

On Saturday, June 18th, I was given the honor of speaking at Netroots Nation 2011 in Minneapolis, the 6th annual convention of progressive grassroots leaders and activists. I was the opening speaker at Saturday's Morning Keynote session, which focused on how to save the middle class and build progressive infrastructure....

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Facebook's Proposed Privacy Plan Puts Users at Great Risk

(235) Comments | Posted March 11, 2011 | 4:41 PM

In January, Facebook made a troubling announcement that it plans to allow third-party developers to request access to the home addresses and phone numbers of users. Despite Facebook's insistence that it will protect its users, I believe this policy will place users at great risk. That's why I wrote a...
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The Internet as We Know it Is Still at Risk

(616) Comments | Posted December 22, 2010 | 8:44 AM

In today's net neutrality action by the Federal Communications Commission there's good news and bad news. The good news is that, thanks to Commissioners Copps and Clyburn -- not to mention a nationwide network of net neutrality activists -- the proposal approved today is better than the original circulated by...

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The Most Important Free Speech Issue of Our Time

(1813) Comments | Posted December 20, 2010 | 7:43 AM

This Tuesday is an important day in the fight to save the Internet.

As a source of innovation, an engine of our economy, and a forum for our political discourse, the Internet can only work if it's a truly level playing field. Small businesses should have the same ability...

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The Hardest Vote I've Taken

(4575) Comments | Posted December 14, 2010 | 3:25 PM

A lot of people are unhappy that the president punted on first down, and I'm one of them. Extending the excessive Bush tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires will explode our deficit over the next two years without doing anything to help our economy. I think it's simply bad policy.

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Preventing Tragedy in Our Schools

(499) Comments | Posted October 5, 2010 | 3:01 PM

Over the past year, the national spotlight has focused on the deeply tragic stories of young people who were so severely bullied based on their real or perceived sexual orientation that they took the desperate step of ending their own lives.

These tragedies were entirely preventable. Schools were not protecting...

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If You Ever Wonder Whether We Really Need Public Financing of Elections in this Country

(210) Comments | Posted June 4, 2007 | 12:10 AM

As a candidate for the U.S. Senate here in Minnesota, I've become painfully aware of the role money plays in politics.

For instance, according to my staff, I'm not supposed to write anything without mentioning that our grassroots campaign needs the support of great progressives like YOU and asking...

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My Plan for Rehabilitating Mel Gibson

(190) Comments | Posted August 1, 2006 | 7:45 PM

So, I don't think Mel Gibson should be totally drummed out of the business. I think he should just have to start all over again. Put him in a movie as an "under-five" (an actor who has fewer than five lines). Make him play BUSBOY #2 in a Matthew McConaughey...

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An Evening With Ann Coulter

(156) Comments | Posted April 5, 2006 | 12:56 PM

Last May, as I left the stage after debating Ann Coulter in Hartford, my wife Franni took me aside and whispered: "The poor thing."

Last Monday, after my debate with Coulter at the Universal Amphitheatre in L.A., there was no sympathy from Franni. Just a strong sense of disgust. Because...

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Cheney and the Late Night Comics

(120) Comments | Posted February 21, 2006 | 7:21 PM

When the Lettermans and the Lenos and the Jon Stewarts start going after you, you know you're in trouble. Of course, the late night comics had a field day last week about Cheney.

But the jokes this week might be even more disturbing for the Vice President. Because when...

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Cheney Shoots Guy

(241) Comments | Posted February 12, 2006 | 8:52 PM

Over the weekend, Vice President Dick Cheney shot a man in Texas. Asked why he shot the man, the Vice President said, "Just to watch him die."

Seriously, it was an accident. There is nothing funny about the Vice President of the United States shooting a guy.

You know who's...

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