Franken says he hasn’t ruled out running for office again

MinnPost file photo by Jay Weiner
Former Sen. Al Franken

WCCO-TV’s talked to former Sen. Al Franken at his first public appearance since resigning from the U.S. Senate. “In an exclusive interview with WCCO-TV, he talked about how much he misses his old job. Franken resigned from the Senate in January after #MeToo allegations from more than half a dozen women alleging unwanted touching. Franken was joined by three Minnesota members of Congress at the dedication of the new Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig High School on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. … When WCCO’s Esme Murphy asked him whether he plans to run for office again, he responded, ‘Well, see, if I say anything there you will put it in the story. I don’t know. I haven’t ruled it out, and I haven’t ruled it in.’”

The Draz strikes again. MPR’s Briana Bierschbach reports, “Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis, was paid $2,000 in February of 2017 to serve as a keynote speaker at Normandale Community College, and another $500 a few months later for a speaking engagement at Inver Hills Community College, according to public records. In a press conference on Monday, state Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, said accepting those payments violates a House policy that bars members from taking honoraria from groups that have business before the Legislature. Both schools are part of the Minnesota State system of public colleges, which receive state funds, and Omar is a member of the House’s higher education finance committee.” 

And just as quick as you can say, “Never mind.” Stribber Kelly Smith reports, “State Rep. Ilhan Omar, a DFL candidate for Congress, said Monday she would return $2,500 in speaking fees from two Minnesota community colleges after a GOP colleague criticized the payments. ‘To address this concern, these honoraria will be returned to the institutions through their scholarship funds as soon as possible,’ Omar said in a statement released by her office.”

Officially: nothing to see here. The New York Times’ Mitch Smith has this to say about the Minneapolis cops in the Thurman Blevins killing. “ … the video footage did little to change two competing narratives that have emerged since the death of Mr. Blevins on June 23. Some watched the images and saw officers following appropriate procedures as they confronted an armed person who refused to comply with their orders. Others said they saw officers overreacting to a scared man simply trying to get away. … Questions about police shootings and police conduct have repeatedly emerged in the Minneapolis region, where the deaths of Jamar Clark, Philando Castile and Justine Ruszczyk have also led to large protests in recent years.” 

Drivers wantedFrom WCCO-TV: “Metro Transit says it will indefinitely suspend 67 trips beginning July 31 as it continues a campaign to hire more bus drivers. Metro Transit is 90 bus drivers short of its target, according to a press release, which the public transportation operator says has made it difficult to cover all scheduled trips. The service changes, which represent around 1 percent of all weekday scheduled bus trips, are meant to improve systemwide reliability. Online schedules and NexTrip have been updated to reflect the service changes.”

So what is going on? Solar flares? The AP reports, “Authorities are investigating a plane crash in Minnesota, the third in as many days. Officials say no one was seriously injured when a plane went down while attempting to land at an airport in Crow Wing County Monday. The Federal Aviation Administration says two people were on board the fixed-wing, single-engine airplane when it crashed about 11 a.m. near the Brainerd airport. Investigators were on the way to the crash scene. Over the weekend, two small planes crashed western Minnesota’s Douglas County, killing one of the pilots.”

From the AP: “Wisconsin’s five-day sales tax holiday is about to begin. Shoppers won’t have to pay sales taxes on clothing, computers and school supplies Wednesday through Sunday. The holiday comes with plenty of strings attached. Each item of clothing must cost less than $75 to be exempt from the sales tax; computers must be purchased for personal use and must cost $750 or less; the price of each school personal computer supply item must be $250 or less; and the price of each school supply item must be $75 or less.”

Wait, how many? From the Pioneer Press’ Josh Verges: “Ethiopia’s prime minister found a patient and exuberant audience of about 10,000 on Monday afternoon at Target Center in Minneapolis. Abiy Ahmed, 41, took office in April and has moved quickly to promote peace and diplomacy in East Africa. He has warmed relations with neighboring Eritrea, released thousands of political prisoners, ended a state of emergency in the country and moved to privatize Ethiopia’s state-owned enterprises. A member of the Oromo ethnic group, which claims a third of Ethiopia’s residents and an estimated 40,000 in the Minnesota diaspora, Abiy received a rock star’s greeting in the third city of his bridge-building U.S. tour.”

And the ban played on. At MPR Bob Collins says, “A divided Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld Winona County’s ban on frac sand mining. The 2016 ban is Minnesota’s first countywide frac sand mining ban. Winona County has some of the largest deposits of silica sand, which is used in the controversial technique to force oil out of the ground. Minnesota Sands, a mining company, had leased several Winona County properties in 2011 and 2012, which led to the county ban following a moratorium on mining to study the issue. The company challenged the ban with a lawsuit, saying it violates the constitutional right to interstate commerce. It doesn’t, a majority of the three-member Court of Appeals said.”

Go ahead. Make your own list. Jay Boller and Keith Harris at City Pages say, “The world was outraged last week when Target unveiled a mock storefront in New York’s East Village designed to look like the legendary punk club CBGB. But no one had more cause to be indignant than those of us right here in Minnesota. After all, here was our hometown big box conglomerate, headquartered right here in downtown Minneapolis, celebrating New York punk, when there’s still so much Twin Cities musical history that Target has failed to exploit. …We have a few suggestions for how to transform our own defunct rock ‘n’ roll landmarks into glittering temples of historically significant commerce. Our consulting fee is negotiable.”

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Comments (11)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/31/2018 - 06:27 am.

    I hope he runs again

    The voters never got their chance to weigh in on whether or not he should have remained in office.

  2. Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/31/2018 - 06:32 am.

    Sounds like Omar may not have been the only one?

    From the article:

    “In an email sent to campus leaders in June, Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra urged colleges in the system to stop the practice of paying legislators for speaking engagements.”

    That makes it sound like other legislators have also been paid for speaking engagements at Minnesota State colleges. If that is the case, singling out Omar for this attention sounds like there are other motivations at play for this accusation . . . . .

  3. Submitted by Kim Couch on 07/31/2018 - 09:04 am.


    This article should have mentioned that Ilhan Omar accepted those speaking engagement BEFORE she was elected.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/03/2018 - 05:55 pm.

      Doesn’t matter

      She was also running for office at the time, which is a whole other issue. These are also not her only campaign finance violations.

      Omar is an ethical disaster. There are better candidates in that race.

  4. Submitted by richard owens on 07/31/2018 - 09:12 am.

    Jamar Clark, Philando Castile and Justine Ruszczyk

    These shootings are QUITE different than the fleeing victim. Body cams show the weapon and the fleeing man aiming at his pursuers.

    Jamar Clark, Philando Castile and Justine Ruszczyk shootings were all wrongful and egregious police behavior whether they were considered “legal” or not.

    This one muddies the water over police use of deadly force.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/31/2018 - 10:04 am.


      As a disclaimer, I have not viewed the video. But I believe part of the argument the families are making is that there was no (or insufficient) attempt at de-escalation. That the officers jumped out of the car, guns drawn, and never gave an already-agitated Blevins an opportunity to do anything BUT run.

      I guess I would be interested in hearing more discussion about what occurred in the initial few seconds after the officers arrived on the scene rather than what followed once the chase was on.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/03/2018 - 06:29 pm.


        When you have a report of an active shooter, I expect the approach police uses changes. A man drinking and firing his gun on the street is a serious threat to public safety.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 07/31/2018 - 01:08 pm.

      I would disagree only in the case of Jamar Clark

      Clark’s DNA was found on the butt of one of the officer’s guns. There clearly was a struggle and whenever a suspect goes for an officer’s gun, the end result is going to be a death sentence for the suspect. Tragic, no doubt, but entirely preventable, as was the case with Mr. Blevins.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 08/03/2018 - 06:27 pm.

      Not Clark

      The ambulance was called because Clark allegedly beat a woman, and the paramedics called the police because Clark interfered with treating her. Contrary to claims, DNA testing showed he was not handcuffed and did touch the officer’s gun.

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