Franken first faces Faris in primary

Published 9:28 am Monday, August 11, 2008

Minnesotans want one of their own representing them in Congress, according to Priscilla Lord Faris, which is why she is running for the Democratic ticket in the U.S. Senate race against the well-publicized Al Franken.

“Minnesota has Minnesota values,” she said, and the current Democratic forerunner hasn’t lived in Minnesota for decades.

Faris announced her bid for the U.S. Senate race July 15 and will go up against Franken and four other candidates for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party endorsement at the primary Sept. 9.

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“I’m a Minnesota candidate,” she said. “I start off running.”

Faris said her experience speaks a lot about her platform. She was born and bred in Minnesota, graduated from the University of Minnesota, taught third grade and special education for years, went to law school and since has owned her own commercial real estate investment company. She also worked three years in bankruptcy court.

In 1993 she started her own law practice representing people victimized in some way, anything from car wrecks to sexual abuse.

Her life experiences and career choices, Faris said, give her firsthand knowledge of education, owning a small business, the real estate market, law, foreclosures and bankruptcy.

She lobbied for Mothers Against Drunk Driving following the death of her oldest son to a drunk driver. Faris spend several years, she said, voluntarily writing laws to help prevent drunken driving and got many passed. She specifically had a part in the Social Host Law preventing adults from providing minors with alcohol.

She serves on the University of Minnesota Advisory Committee on Athletics and in the past has been involved with the League of Women Voters, the Sunfish Lake City Council in Dakota County, the Chrysalis Board and on the Native American Indian Little Earth Housing Board. Following her graduation from the U of M, she worked with the Christian group Young Life for a while in Washington, D.C. She is a mother of three.

Key policy issues important to Faris, she said, include getting out of the Middle East in a respectful way, working on the economy, providing millions with health insurance, creating a working energy policy and fixing the foreclosure and housing crisis in this country.

Faris said it was her time to run for office because — according to the polls — Franken is way behind after two years of full-time campaigning and millions of dollars to run his campaign. Since no one else has decided to step up for the Democratic ticket, she said she decided she would.

“We’re seeing him go down the tubes and we waited for someone to jump in and nobody did,” Faris said.

Plus, Faris said, Franken has a “Minnesota problem.” He has been in New York for 36 years, and “I don’t know what he’s done for Minnesota in his past.”

The information about Franken that has come out about his writings — including insulting comments about women, rape, child abuse and Catholics, just to name a few — isn’t very positive, she said.

“Is this what we want our children to model their lives after? And why is he coming to Minnesota anyway?” Faris said.

If Franken were to win the Democratic nomination and go up against Sen. Norm Coleman, she said, she can’t even imagine what the Republicans would do with the information about him. Even if Franken won in September, she said, he would not win against Coleman.

Faris said she is “disgusted” with the current administration.

“If I don’t get in there, Franken is going to lose to Coleman and we’d have more of the same for six more years,” she said.

Faris comes from a family that is active in politics. Her father has held elective office as the state’s attorney general, as a U.S. attorney and a federal judge. He was also a founding member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. Faris’ brother served in the state Senate and was the state treasurer.

“I really had a wonderful opportunity to work with the DFL and Minnesotans,” she said.