MPR reports that Al Franken has hired a state director already, but not a chief of staff.
Franken told reporter Mark Zdechlik that despite Republican Norm Coleman’s expected state Supreme Court appeal, he expects to eventually be seated in the Senate. He said he needs to assemble a staff so he’s ready.
“It’s a little difficult because we’re still in a little bit of a legal limbo but we, again, I don’t want to be presumptuous, but I feel like it’s irresponsible not to get a jump on this,” Franken said.
Alana Petersen, who’s been working for 8th District Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar for the past five years, will be his state director, Franken said. Her charge will go well beyond providing basic constituent services.
“It means having listening sessions,” Franken said. “It means going out and doing townhalls with different groups with veterans, about health care and really being able to identify problems in communities maybe before people in the communities know exactly what to do or what they need from Washington.”
Ron Carey, chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota, wasted no time in lambasting Franken’s hiring move. In a statement released this morning: Carey said in part:
“The truth could never be clearer that Al Franken has decided that 4,400 Minnesota voters are disposable. While the due process and equal protection rights of our fellow citizens are being denied, Al Franken is determined to thumb his nose at the Minnesota Supreme Court.This is another shameful episode of disenfranchising voters from Al Franken, and his disrespect for the constitutional rights of all citizens.”
Here is the Franken camp’s announcement of Petersen’s appointment:
“Sen.-elect Al Franken today announced that Alana Petersen has agreed to serve as his Minnesota State Director, citing his commitment to continuing Minnesota’s tradition of excellent constituent services.
“Petersen is a life-long resident of Minnesota who has spent the last five years working in outreach and organizing for Rep. Jim Oberstar.
“Al Franken said, ‘I want Minnesotans to be able to rely on me for assistance with the federal government. Whether it’s a Social Security check, a small business loan, or help for a returning veteran, my office will be there for the people of our state, following the examples set by Sen. Klobuchar, our fine Congressional delegation, and those who came before us. That’s the Minnesota way, and nobody is better at it than Alana. Drawing on her wealth of experience and her ability to reach out to every constituency in Minnesota, when I have the privilege of being certified, she’ll work with me to ensure that we hit the ground running on Day One.’
“Alana Petersen said, ‘I’ve gotten to know Al, and I know he’ll be the kind of Senator who works hard on behalf of every Minnesotan. I share his understanding that Minnesotans are facing some tough challenges right now, and I share his vision to support Minnesotans and strengthen our state. I’m thrilled to join his team.’ “