Monday, June 09, 2008

Al Franken Wins Minnesota DFL Nomination to Run for U.S. Senate in 2008

Editor's note: This weekend, during Minnesota's DFL convention at Rochester's Mayo Civic Center, Al Franken won the nomination to challenge Republican Norm Coleman for the U.S. Senate in 2008. Following, is the acceptance speech delivered by Franken -- a true ally of small business, farmers, labor, environmentalists, educators, students, soldiers, veterans, consumers and, well, everyone else seeking a new direction for our nation.

Thank you.

I want to start by thanking my family. I think you all know Franni, don't you? My daughter Thomasin. You might not know Joe, he's been kind of -- he's been doing a lot of work. And my sister-in-law Carla, who looks suspiciously like Franni.

I also want to thank my staff, my volunteers, the interns. We've been at this awhile, we've been at this awhile. Thank you, guys, thank you. I want to thank my supporters, elected officials who supported me, stuck by me. I want to thank all of you, most of all. But first let me say something about Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer.

You know, earlier in the questions-and-answers, I was asked why am I a Democrat. You know, I'm a Democrat because this is the only party that would have a Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. This is the only party that would have a man of such compassion and wisdom and energy, such a pure heart, and such a strong soul. It has been an honor to share the stage with you, sir, and I hope to do so for the next five months and beyond.

And the same goes for Jack's supporters, to his staff, to his volunteers, to his interns. I'd be honored to share a stage, or share a convention, or share a meeting, or share a campaign rally, or share anything with you. You are fantastic.

I want to thank Amy Klobuchar, who will make a great senior senator in Washington. And I want to thank our congressional delegation, from whom I will continue to learn so much.

But most of all, I want to thank you delegates who have put your faith in me. And it is in that spirit, with tremendous gratitude and tremendous humility, that I accept your endorsement.

You know, we have been waiting for eight years to take this country back. And this year, we have seen the emergence of a new progressive majority in this state and in this country.

You saw it on Feb. 5, Caucus Night, when over 215,000 DFLers showed up for the caucus, to say they're ready for a new direction. And a lot of you hung out in hot, crowded rooms for a few hours, and I thank you for going through that process and being here today.

We have a new progressive majority in this country, and we know what we want.

We want universal health care.

We want an economy that works for everyone, not just the special interests.

And I want to thank my friends in labor, who have been through me with this all the way. Thank you.

We want to address global warming and create "green" jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

We want a world-class education for all our kids so they can compete in a 21st century economy.

And we want to restore our standing in the world, starting with getting out of Iraq and bringing our troops home.

We have a lot of work to do together.

We're going to canvass until our feet hurt, and when our feet hurt, we'll start picking up the phone, start phone-banking. We're going to get up early and stay up late.

And we're going to do it because five million Minnesotans need a voice in Washington, and they don't have one in Norm Coleman.

On issue after issue, he hasn't brought people together to get things done. He's sold people out to get ahead.

Minnesota has the second-highest rate of subprime foreclosures in the country, and families I talk to every day are worried about losing their home equity and their chance at building wealth. These families need help. But Norm Coleman doesn't work for them. He works for the mortgage companies. That's why he voted against helping people who have gone bankrupt because of health-care crises from keeping their homes.

Minnesotans are paying four dollars a gallon at the pump. But Norm Coleman doesn't work for them. He works for the oil companies. That's why he voted to give them billions of dollars in tax subsidies while they were already raking ridiculous profits.

Minnesota seniors are paying too much for their prescription drugs -- so much that they can't afford to take the medications that they need. But Norm Coleman doesn't work for them. He works for the big drug companies. That's why he voted to prohibit Medicare from negotiating with the pharmaceuticals for lower drug prices.

Minnesota veterans need the health-care benefits they were promised. Minnesota students need the loan aid that will help them to make tuition payments. And the young Minnesotans serving bravely in Iraq need a senator who will bring them home. But Norm Coleman doesn't work for them.

Norm Coleman went to Washington to play a game. The game works like this. Norm Coleman accepts hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign checks from corporate interests. He votes to give them special handouts and tax breaks that come out of our pockets. Then he comes back to Minnesota and pretends it didn't happen. Everybody wins, except the people of Minnesota.

It's time we had a senator who took this job seriously. And that's what this election is about.

It's not enough that we take back the White House. It's not even enough that we take more seats in Congress. We have to take back this government. We have to tell the special interests, you're not so special anymore. We have to elect people who will stand up to the oil companies, stand up to the insurance industry, stand up to the drug companies, and stand up for the working families across this state.

So, to the people of Minnesota, let me say this: I'm not a perfect person. And I'm not going to pretend to have all the answers.

But I'll tell the truth. I will keep my spine and I will work for you.

I will wage a campaign you can be proud of, whether you're a DFLer, or a Republican, or an Independent, or somebody who's never even thought about what party you might belong to.

And I'll be a senator you'll be proud to have working for you in Washington.

Last fall, I went on a 10-college tour. Some of the kids I met with were 11 years old when this president took office. They don't remember that the federal government is supposed to work. They saw Katrina. They saw Iraq. And even sadder, they don't remember when we were once the most respected country on the face of this planet.

After all, we are the country that sent a man to the moon, the country that mapped the human genome, the country that beat fascism and communism, the country that re-built Europe after World War II, and still had enough juice left over to invent rock-and-roll and the Internet.

I believe we can be that country again.

Paul Wellstone said, "The future belongs to those who are passionate and work hard."

I don't think I have to tell you how passionate the people in this room are about taking back our country. Tomorrow, we get to work.

Thank you.

SOURCE: Al Franken for U.S. Senate

To learn more about Al Franken's politics [and satirical style], check out his latest best-selling book, "The Truth [With Jokes]."

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