Al Franken, who as the Democratic challenger for a U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota narrowly defeated a Republican incumbent in a court-contested race, pledged to back health reform measures that drive down cost and boost quality in his first stint in public office.
Saying that he would put the people of Minnesota first, Franken added that changing the U.S. healthcare system would be a top priority during his tenure in the Senate. “Minnesotans want a rational healthcare system that provides healthcare for all Americans, that is accessible and affordable,” Franken told reporters at a packed appearance on Capitol Hill.
An actor, comedian and former cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” Franken beat incumbent Norm Coleman in a race that saw vote tallies scrutinized for more than eight months. He now gives Democrats a strategically important 60th vote in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who appeared with Franken just outside the Senate chamber, said he expects Franken to help deliver on a number of sweeping measures to overhaul everything from how care is delivered in the U.S. to how Americans manage and use energy. “I'm confident that Sen.-elect Franken will make a difference,” Reid said. Franken is expected to be sworn in on Tuesday.