Following are statements by Gov. Mark Dayton and others about Sen. Al Franken's announcement that he will resign from the Senate:
Gov. Mark Dayton:
“I extend my deepest regrets to the women, who have had to endure their unwanted experiences with Senator Franken. As a personal friend, my heart also goes out to Al and his family during this difficult time.
“In other respects, Al Franken has been an outstanding Senator. He has been, as Senator Paul Wellstone used to say, ‘A Senator from the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.’ He is very smart, very hard-working, and very committed to Minnesota. I wish him well in his future endeavors.
“Events have unfolded quickly; thus, I have not yet decided on my appointment to fill this upcoming vacancy. I expect to make and announce my decision in the next couple of days.
“I will have no further comments on this subject until that time.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar:
“Today Senator Franken acknowledged that he could no longer serve in the Senate and resigned. As he and I discussed yesterday, this is the right decision. Senator Franken has worked for years on behalf of the people of Minnesota and he has been a leader on issues that are fundamental to Americans’ lives, including education, privacy, healthcare and mental health. He has been a friend to me and to many in our state.
“As the women who have come forward to tell their stories across America have made clear, sexual harassment is never acceptable. In every workplace in America, including the U.S. Senate, we must confront the challenges of harassment and misconduct. Nothing is easy or pleasant about this, but we all must recognize that our workplace cultures—and the way we treat each other as human beings—must change.
“For Franni, the Franken family, Senator Franken’s friends and supporters in our state, it’s a very tough day. I want you to know I remain as committed as ever to working together and standing up for people, for common decency, and for our democracy during an incredibly difficult and divisive time in our country. And as we go forward together, we must never forget the words of Senator Paul Wellstone, whom Senator Franken quoted in part today, ‘Politics is not about power. Politics is not about money. Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives.’”
DFL Party Chair Ken Martin:
“Senator Franken made the right decision today. He has been a tireless and strong progressive leader on behalf of Minnesotans in Washington, but that in no way excuses his behavior toward the women who came forward. His resignation today is an important part of the healing process.”
“While sexual harassment and assault are dominating headlines recently, they have dominated the lives of women in our country for far too long. This much-overdue reckoning will not be easy—in fact, people will be angry, shocked, and saddened, as some remember personal experiences similar to those being shared in the news.”
“But the strength of this movement is the power of once-silent voices being heard loud and clear. And it's our duty—as Democrats, as political leaders, and as Americans—to hold those in power accountable for their actions.”
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith:
“Senator Franken has been a servant to the people of Minnesota, and a champion for working people during his time in the Senate. I thank him for his service. On this difficult day, I am holding Senator Franken, his family, and those who have worked beside him over the last decade to make this country a better place, in my thoughts.
“I also am thinking today about the many women around the country who have come forward in recent months to share their stories about sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can never be tolerated in our politics, our businesses, or anywhere else.
“Now, it is on all of us to come together and make the progress necessary to live up to the values we believe in. Governor Dayton and I remain committed to ensuring that Minnesota is a place where everyone has the opportunity to realize their full potential.”
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison:
"I commend the brave women who have come forward in recent weeks to share their experience of sexual harassment and assault. Their courage is immense, and has sparked a long overdue national reckoning with persistent inequities and injustices in our society.
"I am grateful for Al Franken’s progressive record of accomplishment over the years—from his forceful advocacy for a free and open internet, to his important work helping to shape the Affordable Care Act, to his support for policies that improve the lives of women, including championing the Violence Against Women Act. Still, as elected officials, we must stand for safe communities and work environments for everyone.
"Sen. Franken's decision to resign shows a strength of character that other elected officials haven’t. Al’s decision is the right one, and will bring us one step closer towards a society of true justice and equality for all."
U.S. Rep. Tim Walz:
“Like many Minnesotans, I have been deeply disappointed by the serious allegations against Senator Franken. I have served with Senator Franken for eight years in the U.S. Congress and he has accomplished a lot of good for Minnesotans. But I believe the pattern of his behavior is unacceptable and his ability to continue to effectively serve Minnesotans has been irreparably compromised. For the good of Minnesotans and the American people, I believe Senator Franken has made the right decision in stepping aside.”
U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer:
"Elected officials hold the trust of the constituents they represent, and it is crucial we cherish and honor that trust. I am hopeful this will move our society towards better behavior."
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum:
"Senator Al Franken has been more than a colleague — he has been a friend and an ally on the issues that are most important to Minnesota families. Al's voice and vote were instrumental in extending health care to millions of Americans, helping our students succeed, and upholding our commitments to tribal nations."
U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson:
"The behavior described in these continued allegations is out of line and unacceptable. Senator Franken is making the right choice by resigning."
U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan:
"Senator Franken has determined that he can no longer effectively represent the people of Minnesota. He has done the right thing for Minnesota and our Nation by stepping down."
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman:
"It's a sad day for all the causes Al championed. ... But this day is yet another reminder that the countless women who have been the victims of sexual assault and harassment must not be silenced. For too long, their stories have been disbelieved or subject to special scrutiny. As we go forward, it is my hope that we will seize this time in our history to fundamentally change how women are treated in our society."