Franken gives victory speech as senator-elect


Senator-Elect Al Franken just spoke in front of his Minneapolis home, happily accepting Norm Coleman's concession in the state's longest election contest.

He said received a very gracious call from Coleman where they both wish each other well. "We agreed it is time to bring this state together," Franken said.

The victory speech marks the end of an eight-month recount and legal battle for Minnesota's vacant U.S. Senate seat. Franken could be sworn in as soon as next week.

Franken said Minnesotans "have earned the right to take pride" in the transparency and thoroughness of the recount process and the integrity of election officials.

He mentioned the national talk about what it means that he will be the 60th member of the Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate.

"That's not how I see it," he said. "I am not going to Washington to be the 60th Democratic senator, I am going to be the second U.S. senator from Minnesota."

He has been staffing up both his Washington and Minnesota offices and said he will hopefully start next week as an official senator. "If not running, trotting," he joked.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Franken to congratulate him and told him of his four Senate committee appointments: Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions; Judiciary Committee; Committee on Indian Affairs; and the Special Committee on Aging.

His statement on the Minn. Supreme Court ruling:

"We have a lot of work to do in Washington, but that's why I signed up for the job in the first place. When we started this campaign way back in February 2007, I said that Americans have never backed away from tough challenges, and Minnesotans have always led the way.

"Working with our fantastic senior Senator, Amy Klobuchar, I'm going to fight hard to put people to work, improve education, make Minnesota the epicenter of a new renewable energy economy, and make quality health care accessible and affordable for all Minnesotans.

"No matter whether you voted for me, or for Senator Coleman, or for Senator Barkley, or whether you voted at all, I want the people of Minnesota to know that I'm ready to work for all of you, and that I'm committed to being a voice for all Minnesotans in the U.S. Senate."