Franken staff stops in Albert Lea

Published 10:00 am Thursday, July 16, 2009

Staff of U.S. Sen. Al Franken visited Albert Lea Wednesday during 66 constituent outreach sessions being conducted around the state. Minnesota’s second senator wants people to share their thoughts and concerns.

“What we’re here for is to listen to the people around the state,” said Franken field representative Charlie Poster. “We want these people to come and tell us what Franken’s priorities should be.”

Two staff members stopped in Albert Lea for two hours Wednesday and also had visits planned in Austin and Owatonna.

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Franken was in Washington, D.C., in the Senate hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Poster said at least 20 people came to the outreach session during the first hour in Albert Lea, held in City Hall in Room 109.

He said many issues were raised, but mostly people just showed excitement for having a second senator. Sen. Amy Klobuchar had been doing some double duty.

Local representatives, city councilors, county commissioners and other local leaders were invited to attend, along with members of the public.

“I was surprised by the turnout and how happy people were to see us,” Poster said. “There’s been good spirited debate between the people here.”

In a news release, Franken said he looked forward to hearing from Minnesotans.

“I came to Washington to work for the people of Minnesota,” he said. “I’m excited that they’ll finally have the chance to tell us what we can do for them. Minnesota has a tradition of outstanding constituent service, and I intend to continue it.”  

Poster said it would be awhile before the senator’s permanent state office is set up, but they knew they couldn’t wait that long to hear from constituents.