Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Al Franken Al Franken

NEXT :
This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Almanac

Search

Enter your search query or use our Advanced People Search. Need Help? View our search tips

View Saved Lists
View Saved Lists
Democrat

Sen. Al Franken (D)

Al Franken Contact
Back to top
Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-224-5641

Address: 309 HSOB, DC 20510

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (651) 221-1016

Address: 60 East Plato Boulevard, St. Paul MN 55107-1833

St. Cloud MN

Phone: (320) 251-2721

Address: 916 West St. Germain Street, St. Cloud MN 56301-4097

St. Peter MN

Phone: (507) 931-5813

Address: 208 South Minnesota Avenue, St. Peter MN 56082-2546

Duluth MN

Phone: (218) 722-2390

Address: 515 West First Street, Duluth MN 55802-1302

Al Franken Staff
Back to top
Sort by INTEREST NAME TITLE
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Lomonaco, Jeff
Legislative Director; National Security Advisor
Ali, Mohammad
Legislative Assistant
Crawford, Chase
Agriculture Fellow
Nouri, Ali
Deputy Legislative Director; Energy and Agricultural Policy Advisor
Schwitzer, Jake
Legislative Assistant
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Hayward, Matt
Legislative Aide
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Hayward, Matt
Legislative Aide
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Sedighi, Gohar
Education Policy Advisor
Hayward, Matt
Legislative Aide
Hayward, Matt
Legislative Aide
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Ali, Mohammad
Legislative Assistant
Lomonaco, Jeff
Legislative Director; National Security Advisor
Griffin, Amy
Economic and Labor Fellow
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Griffin, Amy
Economic and Labor Fellow
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Henderson, Maggie
Legislative Correspondent; Assistant to the Legislative Director
Schwitzer, Jake
Legislative Assistant
Sedighi, Gohar
Education Policy Advisor
Ali, Mohammad
Legislative Assistant
Nouri, Ali
Deputy Legislative Director; Energy and Agricultural Policy Advisor
Ali, Mohammad
Legislative Assistant
Lomonaco, Jeff
Legislative Director; National Security Advisor
Sedighi, Gohar
Education Policy Advisor
Hayward, Matt
Legislative Aide
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Ali, Mohammad
Legislative Assistant
Crawford, Chase
Agriculture Fellow
Nouri, Ali
Deputy Legislative Director; Energy and Agricultural Policy Advisor
Schwitzer, Jake
Legislative Assistant
Ali, Mohammad
Legislative Assistant
Lomonaco, Jeff
Legislative Director; National Security Advisor
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Henderson, Maggie
Legislative Correspondent; Assistant to the Legislative Director
Ali, Mohammad
Legislative Assistant
Hayward, Matt
Legislative Aide
Henderson, Maggie
Legislative Correspondent; Assistant to the Legislative Director
Hayward, Matt
Legislative Aide
Lomonaco, Jeff
Legislative Director; National Security Advisor
Ali, Mohammad
Legislative Assistant
Lomonaco, Jeff
Legislative Director; National Security Advisor
Griffin, Amy
Economic and Labor Fellow
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Griffin, Amy
Economic and Labor Fellow
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Henderson, Maggie
Legislative Correspondent; Assistant to the Legislative Director
Ali, Mohammad
Legislative Assistant
Lomonaco, Jeff
Legislative Director; National Security Advisor
Schwitzer, Jake
Legislative Assistant
Ali, Mohammad
Legislative Assistant
Griffin, Amy
Economic and Labor Fellow
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Henderson, Maggie
Legislative Correspondent; Assistant to the Legislative Director
Schwitzer, Jake
Legislative Assistant
Sedighi, Gohar
Education Policy Advisor
Hayward, Matt
Legislative Aide
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Lomonaco, Jeff
Legislative Director; National Security Advisor
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Ali, Mohammad
Legislative Assistant
Lomonaco, Jeff
Legislative Director; National Security Advisor
Schwitzer, Jake
Legislative Assistant
Ali, Mohammad
Legislative Assistant
Nouri, Ali
Deputy Legislative Director; Energy and Agricultural Policy Advisor
Ali, Mohammad
Legislative Assistant
Lomonaco, Jeff
Legislative Director; National Security Advisor
Ali, Mohammad
Legislative Assistant
Barnum, Bruce
Field Representative
Buhr, Greg
Constituent Services Director
Crawford, Chase
Agriculture Fellow
Endo, Lianne
Deputy Scheduling Director
English, Amber
Correspondence Manager
Fobbe, Lisa
Field Representative
Gerten, Diane
Constituent Services Representative
Griffin, Amy
Economic and Labor Fellow
Hayward, Matt
Legislative Aide
Henderson, Maggie
Legislative Correspondent; Assistant to the Legislative Director
Johnson, Elyse
Staff Assistant; Intern Coordinator
Juhnke, Alan
Constituent Services Representative
Kimball, Mark
Deputy State Director for Communications
Lomonaco, Jeff
Legislative Director; National Security Advisor
Ly, Nicole
Constituent Services Representative
Makowski, Peter
Constituent Services Representative
Mazer, Tara
Executive Assistant; Director of Scheduling
Mills, Samantha
Field Representative
Morgan Lilla, Miranda
Deputy Constituent Services Director
Nelson, Janet
Constituent Services Representative
Nouri, Ali
Deputy Legislative Director; Energy and Agricultural Policy Advisor
Osborne, Andy
Special Assistant
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Perez, Peter
Systems Administrator
Proctor, Aleysha
Director of Administration
Rousseau, Maggie
Deputy Press Secretary
Schafer, Shelly
Deputy State Director
Schueller, Alex
Constituent Services Representative
Schwitzer, Jake
Legislative Assistant
Sedighi, Gohar
Education Policy Advisor
Shelleby, Ed
Communications Director
Silvernail, Sara
Deputy State Director; State Scheduler
Solomon, Dan
Field Representative
Sutton, Charles
Field Representative
Perez, Peter
Systems Administrator
Lomonaco, Jeff
Legislative Director; National Security Advisor
Nouri, Ali
Deputy Legislative Director; Energy and Agricultural Policy Advisor
Sedighi, Gohar
Education Policy Advisor
Hayward, Matt
Legislative Aide
Henderson, Maggie
Legislative Correspondent; Assistant to the Legislative Director
Shelleby, Ed
Communications Director
Johnson, Elyse
Staff Assistant; Intern Coordinator
Perez, Amanda
Senior Labor and Economic Counsel
Rousseau, Maggie
Deputy Press Secretary
Buhr, Greg
Constituent Services Director
Endo, Lianne
Deputy Scheduling Director
Kimball, Mark
Deputy State Director for Communications
Mazer, Tara
Executive Assistant; Director of Scheduling
Morgan Lilla, Miranda
Deputy Constituent Services Director
Proctor, Aleysha
Director of Administration
Schafer, Shelly
Deputy State Director
Silvernail, Sara
Deputy State Director; State Scheduler
Mazer, Tara
Executive Assistant; Director of Scheduling
Crawford, Chase
Agriculture Fellow
Griffin, Amy
Economic and Labor Fellow
Ali, Mohammad
Legislative Assistant
Schwitzer, Jake
Legislative Assistant
Henderson, Maggie
Legislative Correspondent; Assistant to the Legislative Director
Lomonaco, Jeff
Legislative Director; National Security Advisor
Nouri, Ali
Deputy Legislative Director; Energy and Agricultural Policy Advisor
English, Amber
Correspondence Manager
Barnum, Bruce
Field Representative
Fobbe, Lisa
Field Representative
Gerten, Diane
Constituent Services Representative
Juhnke, Alan
Constituent Services Representative
Ly, Nicole
Constituent Services Representative
Makowski, Peter
Constituent Services Representative
Mills, Samantha
Field Representative
Nelson, Janet
Constituent Services Representative
Schueller, Alex
Constituent Services Representative
Solomon, Dan
Field Representative
Sutton, Charles
Field Representative
Silvernail, Sara
Deputy State Director; State Scheduler
Osborne, Andy
Special Assistant
Johnson, Elyse
Staff Assistant; Intern Coordinator
Note: You can only itemize lists in the Interests and Title sections
Save List
X

Your saved lists will appear under My Saved Lists on The Almanac's landing page.

Al Franken Committees
Back to top
Al Franken Biography
Back to top
  • Elected: 2008, term expires 2014, 1st term.
  • State: Minnesota
  • Born: May. 21, 1951, New York City, NY
  • Home: Minneapolis
  • Education:

    Harvard U., B.A. 1973

  • Professional Career:

    Writer, network comedy show; Radio talk show host

  • Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
  • Religion:

    Jewish

  • Family: Married (Franni); 2 children

Democrat Al Franken was sworn in as Minnesota’s junior senator in July 2009 after a protracted dispute over the results of his extremely close November 2008 race with Norm Coleman. Franken has downplayed his pre-Senate career as a Saturday Night Live comedian and liberal satirist to establish himself as a serious-minded legislator, but he freely uses his celebrity to raise money for fellow Democrats — and occasionally does bring some levity to the chamber. Read More

Democrat Al Franken was sworn in as Minnesota’s junior senator in July 2009 after a protracted dispute over the results of his extremely close November 2008 race with Norm Coleman. Franken has downplayed his pre-Senate career as a Saturday Night Live comedian and liberal satirist to establish himself as a serious-minded legislator, but he freely uses his celebrity to raise money for fellow Democrats — and occasionally does bring some levity to the chamber.

Franken was born in New York City and moved at age 4 to Minnesota, where the family settled in the heavily Jewish suburb of St. Louis Park, just west of Minneapolis. Franken’s father was a printing salesman and his mother was a real estate agent. From a young age, Franken reconciled his competing political and comedic impulses by combining them. As a seventh grader, he ran for class president as “Honest Al” and hung posters in the hallways picturing him with a fake beard and a stovepipe hat. Franken graduated from Harvard and took a writing job in New York for the then-new Saturday Night Live. For most of the next 20 years, Franken helped to define the program’s sense of humor as it evolved from a fledgling variety show into a pop culture mainstay. Franken also frequently appeared on the program, most memorably as Stuart Smalley, an obnoxious self-help guru.

Franken left Saturday Night Live in 1995 and began working as a political commentator. After the Republicans swept to victory in Congress in 1994, he wrote four books, including Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot. In 2004, he joined the new liberal Air America Radio network with a daily, three-hour show opposite Limbaugh’s program. Franken spent the next three years excoriating conservatives of every stripe, from Bush administration officials to Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly, whom he singled out in his 2003 book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Fox sued him over the use of “fair and balanced” in the title, but a judge denied its request for an injunction and the network dropped the suit.

Franken began thinking about returning to Minnesota to run for the Senate after Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash in October 2002 while running for reelection against former St. Paul Mayor Coleman. (In a 2012 remembrance in The Atlantic, Franken wrote: “Paul was the kind of progressive many of us strive to be—feisty, fearless, and energetic.”) Democrats chose former Vice President Walter Mondale to replace Wellstone on the ballot, and despite Mondale’s prominence and long political history in the state, Coleman won 50%-47%.

Franken moved his radio talk show in 2006 from New York to Minneapolis, and in February 2007, he announced he would run for the Senate. Republicans immediately drew attention to Franken’s liberal on-air commentary. His defenders noted that his program often featured in-depth interviews with policy experts. He appeared to have a clear shot at Coleman when lawyer Mike Ciresi dropped out of the race for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor nomination in March 2008. But damaging revelations on the eve of the DFL endorsement convention in June threatened Franken’s nomination. A sexually explicit satirical article that he wrote for Playboy in 2000 about a virtual sex institute diminished enthusiasm for him among feminist groups. He apologized for the article and won the party’s endorsement. But polling showed him looking increasingly weak against Coleman.

Franken slowly won over skeptical Democrats and kept pace with Coleman in fundraising. The dynamics of the race shifted considerably in July, when former Sen. Dean Barkley entered the race as the Independence Party candidate. Throughout October, Barkley consistently drew about 20% in polls. Franken attacked Coleman for reportedly receiving free suits and below-market rent in Washington from political benefactors. But Franken was embarrassed by disclosures that he owed $70,000 in back taxes, and he paid a $25,000 fine to New York state for failing to carry workmen’s compensation insurance for his employees. This was an expensive contest; the candidates each spent more than $19 million. As the returns came in on Election Night, they showed the race to be exceedingly tight, with 42% for both Coleman and Franken and 15% for Barkley.

On Nov. 18, the State Canvassing Board showed Coleman with a 206-vote lead. A recount began the next day, and the board ultimately concluded Franken was 225 votes ahead. Coleman contended that 133 ballots were missing in the recount and contested the results. On March 31, a three-judge court issued an order designating 400 absentee ballots for review; 351 of them were opened and counted. And on April 13, the judges ruled that Franken had received the highest number of votes by a margin of 312. Coleman appealed to the state Supreme Court, and after a ruling in Franken’s favor, he conceded the contest. By then, each candidate had spent $6 million on the recount process. Franken was sworn in on July 7.

With his arrival in the Senate, Democrats had the 60 votes they needed to prevent Republicans from using the filibuster to block bills. As a new senator who had achieved celebrity in another role, Franken, like Hillary Clinton of New York, set out to work hard and stay out of the limelight. He refused to talk to the national press and spent the August recess on a strenuous schedule in Minnesota. His first bill, to provide 200 service dogs for wounded veterans, was co-sponsored by three Republicans and passed into law. He worked with GOP moderate Olympia Snowe of Maine to let women in the military have access to emergency contraception. And he joined Indiana Republican Richard Lugar on funding for diabetes prevention, Arkansas Republican John Boozman on rural veterans’ health care, and Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley on improving colleges’ student loan forms. “He’s been able to overcome some critics that didn't know if he would be able to serve as a serious legislator,” University of Minnesota political scientist Kathryn Pearson told Minneapolis’ Star Tribune in November 2012. Nevertheless, one anonymous Republican senator told Politico that year: “There is no way ever, ever, you could work with Al Franken on a major, serious bipartisan issue. He’s a partisan.”

In National Journal’s rankings, Franken was tied with Illinois’ Richard Durbin as the third most-liberal senator in 2012. He was tied with three other senators as the fifth most-liberal in 2013. And legislatively, he often takes a liberal approach. After the December 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Conn., he introduced a bill authorizing $200 million in grant funding annually for schools to expand mental health services. In May 2010, the Senate voted 64-35 in favor of his amendment requiring the Securities and Exchange Commission to appoint an investor-led board to select securities ratings firms on a rotating basis. Franken also shows his asperity on occasion. At a White House meeting in February 2010, he excoriated top Obama aide David Axelrod for failing to set a clear course on health care, and later reportedly got into a profanity-laden exchange with White House adviser Gene Sperling about taxes.

On most issues, Franken has supported the Obama administration, although sometimes reluctantly. In January 2010, after a trip to Afghanistan (where he had entertained troops with comic routines), he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press, “I think the president’s plan, it’s probably the best of a series of options that weren’t so great.” After Obama agreed in December 2010 to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for everyone, not just lower- and middle-class taxpayers as Democrats preferred, Franken said he would vote for it reluctantly.

Franken is among the few non-lawyers to serve on the Judiciary Committee. During a review of the planned AT&T takeover of T-Mobile, Franken broke with unions and opposed the merger. He said the deal would mean higher consumer prices, while the Communications Workers of America supported the merger because it could add some 20,000 new union members. The $39 billion takeover eventually collapsed.

Senate Democratic leaders asked Franken, a magnet for Democratic donors, to head their campaign committee for the 2012 election. But he declined, saying he needed to stay focused on Minnesota issues. Even so, he frequently traveled to stump for Senate candidates such as Arizona’s Richard Carmona in Arizona and Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren (a frequent guest on his old radio talk show), along with colleagues such as Montana’s Jon Tester and Ohio’s Sherrod Brown. In his appearances, he often auctioned off hand-drawn U.S. maps while exhorting audiences to avoid complacency. “You are looking at a senator who won by 312 votes,” he told a Massachusetts crowd in October 2012. “My charge to you is, ‘Work your butts off.’’’

Several local issues energized Franken. Despite objections from environmental groups, in May 2011 he supported a bill authorizing construction of a bridge over the St. Croix River near Stillwater. In late 2011, Franken tried to help his cold-weather state by cosponsoring a bill to increase low-income heating assistance funding. He got a bill into law in 2014 authorizing a land swap between the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Carlton County aimed at enabling the tribe and county to manage their lands more effectively.

Despite his reputation as a partisan, Franken has tried some lighthearted gestures to foster better relations between the two parties. He set up a “Hotdish Off” competition with the Minnesota delegation, which attracted TV cameras looking for images of conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. and Franken cooking side-by-side. Franken also organized a “Secret Santa” gift exchange among Democrats and Republicans. He also once amused Senate Democrats by giving a fake Oscar speech at a caucus meeting, and his fundraising emails often contain funny bits. But he has remained protective of his reputation for seriousness. “It’s something I’m conscious of,” he told Politico in May 2014. “There’s this false dichotomy: If you’re a comedian, you can’t be serious, and if you’re serious, you can’t be funny. If you look at satirists like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, you know that they’re very serious people.”

Franken emerged as a Republican target in 2014, with GOP strategists hoping that Obama's unpopularity in the state would have a negative effect on his candidacy. Republicans also sought to continue to paint him as a legislative lightweight. “The most positive thing that someone says about him is that he exceeds expectations ... Al Franken has been the quiet Al Franken, but there’s no record of accomplishment,” his former rival Coleman told The Hill.

Franken's opponent is Mike McFadden, a businessman who defeated four other Republicans in the August GOP primary. He and his campaign played the outsider card, urging Franken to join other members of Congress to return to Washington rather than take their traditional August break. At the same time, McFadden's campaign criticized Franken for attending a Democratic fundraiser at a Lake Tahoe, Nev. spa. Democrats responded by attacking McFadden for suggesting that the Keystone XL pipeline could be built with less-expensive Chinese steel instead of U.S. steel. In contrast to some of his other Democratic colleagues facing tough races, however, Franken stuck to his strategy of largely avoiding the national media while seeking to run an error-free race focused as much as possible on Minnesota -- and as little as possible on Obama.

Show Less
Al Franken Election Results
Back to top
2008 General
Al Franken (D)
Votes: 1,212,629
Percent: 42.0%
Spent: $22,502,124
Norm Coleman (R)
Votes: 1,212,317
Percent: 42.0%
Spent: $23,673,308
Dean Barkley (Ind)
Votes: 437,505
Percent: 15.0%
Spent: $163,358
2008 Primary
Al Franken (D)
Votes: 164,136
Percent: 65.0%
Priscilla Faris (D)
Votes: 74,655
Percent: 30.0%
Al Franken Votes and Bills
Back to top NJ Vote Ratings

National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 82 (L) : 8 (C) 92 (L) : 5 (C) 69 (L) : 25 (C)
Social 73 (L) : - (C) 64 (L) : - (C) 52 (L) : - (C)
Foreign 71 (L) : - (C) 85 (L) : - (C) 92 (L) : - (C)
Composite 86.3 (L) : 13.7 (C) 89.3 (L) : 10.7 (C) 81.3 (L) : 18.7 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC00
LCV9193
CFG45
ITIC-75
NTU97
20112012
COC55-
ACLU-75
ACU00
ADA9595
AFSCME100-
Key Senate Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Block faith exemptions
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Approve gas pipeline
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Approve farm bill
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Let cyber bill proceed
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Block Gitmo transfers
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass balanced budget amendment
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Stop EPA climate regulations
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Proceed to Cordray vote
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Require talking filibuster
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Limit Fannie/Freddie
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Ratify New START
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Confirm Elena Kagan
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop EPA climate regs
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Confirm Sonia Sotomayor
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Protect gays from hate crimes
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Cut F-22 funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Label North Korea terrorist state
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Build Guantanamo replacement
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Allow federal funds for abortion
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
Read More
 
Browse The Almanac
Congressional Leadership
and Committees

House Committees
Senate Committees
Joint Committees
Leadership Roster
About Almanac
almanac cover
The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
Members: Buy the book at 25% off retail.
Order Now
Need Help?

Contact Us:

202.266.7900 | membership@nationaljournal.com