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Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

Ellison takes DNC stage, introduces Bernie Sanders

Minnesota U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison got a prime speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention Monday night as he introduced Bernie Sanders for his prime time speech capping off the first night of the gathering in Philadelphia.

“As a Sanders supporter, I will always remember ‘feeling the Bern’ in Minnesota,” said Ellison, whose 5th Congressional District includes Minneapolis and several inner ring suburbs. “Six thousand in Duluth, 14,000 in St. Paul – Bernie sparked the beginning of a revolution.”

Ellison was among a relatively few Democratic members of Congress to back the Vermont senator’s surprisingly strong outsider campaign against Clinton. The contest has continued to cause frayed feelings among Democrats as they gathered in Philadelphia on Monday, with some Sanders supporters booing speakers from the stage as the proceedings got underway in the afternoon.

“I’m kind of conflicted,” said Gabe Aderhold, a 21-year-old Sanders delegate from Edina. “I think that party unity is important. To defeat Donald Trump this fall is my number one goal. I just think some things could have been done better to bring us together ahead of the convention.”

But the crowd was united as Ellison came on, and he struck a message of unity in his brief introduction.

“Together, Democrats, we will make our voices heard in November when we defeat Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton the next president of the United States,” Ellison said. “But tonight, let’s raise our voices in gratitude to a man who helped make this party greater than ever.”

Franken takes on Trump at DNC

PHILADELPHIA -- U.S. Sen. Al Franken leaned on his comedy roots in a short speech to the Democratic National Convention on Monday night made up largely of ridicule for Republican candidate Donald Trump.

“I’m Al Franken – Minnesotan, senator and world renowned expert on right-wing megalomaniacs,” Franken said in a prime time speech from the stage of the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. “Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and now Donald Trump.”

Franken, of course, was a “Saturday Night Live” writer and performer for years before shifting into a career in political satire. His most well-known book of humor bashing conservatives was “Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot.”

In 2005, Franken moved back to Minnesota – where he spent his childhood and teenage years – and mounted a political career that saw him elected to the U.S. Senate in 2009 by a historically thin margin. He was reelected much more comfortably in 2014.

Franken joked in his speech that “I got my degree in right-wing megalomania from Trump University.” That’s the controversial business school established by Trump that is the subject of fraud lawsuits. Franken also mocked the New York real estate tycoon’s bankruptcies, saying it featured a 101 class entitled “Leaving Your Friends Holding the Bag.”

On Trump’s claim of being able to teach business success, Franken added: “If you believe that, I’ve got some delicious Trump steaks to sell you.”

He then pivoted to praise for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, whom he talked of knowing for many years.

“I’ve never met anyone tougher, smart, or ready to lead us forward,” Franken said.