Alan Stuart “Al” Franken is a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party member of the United States Senate, serving as the Junior Senator for Minnesota. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party is unique to Minnesota and is affiliated with the Democratic Party.
Al Franken was born on May 21, 1951 and grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. He graduated from Harvard in 1973 and married Franni Franken.
Franken achieved note as a writer and performer for the television show Saturday Night Live from its inception in 1975, before moving to writing and acting in films and television shows. He then became a political commentator, author of five books and a host of a nationally syndicated radio show on the Air America Radio Network. He has taken part in seven USO tours, visiting U.S. troops overseas in Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo and Uzbekistan – as well as visiting Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait four times.
Franken was a Founder and leading voice on the Air America radio network.
He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008.
Franken serves on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which includes the Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety and the Subcommittee on Children and Families. Franken also sits on the Committee on the Judiciary, which includes the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law and the Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts. He also serves on the Committee on Indian Affairs and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Al Franken won his U.S. Senate seat in 2008, against Republican Norm Coleman after an extremely close election night result, followed by a long and controversial recount process, supervised by Minnesota Secretary of State and secret Communist Party USA (CPUSA) “friend,” Mark Ritchie.
Communist Party Commentary
In the Communist Party’s People’s World, November 22, 2008, Barb Kucera wrote of the controversial Minnesota U.S. Senate election, quoting both Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and his known associate CPUSA member, Mark Froemke:
Whether Minnesota labor’s massive effort to mobilize members in the 2008 elections was a success will ultimately turn on the results of a recount in the U.S. Senate race, Labor 2008 coordinators say.
While most AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions backed Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) challenger Franken, a few labor organizations – notably the Carpenters and Pipe Trades — endorsed Coleman. After all the results were turned in, Coleman led Franken by only 215 votes out of just under 3 million cast. An official recount began Nov. 18 and could take a month, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said.
Franken’s race against GOP incumbent Norman Coleman is important nationally. To get pro-worker bills through the Senate, workers and their allies need 60 votes, out of 100 senators, to cut off GOP filibusters. That includes a presumed GOP talkathon against the Employee Free Choice Act, which is designed to help level the playing field between workers and bosses in union organizing and bargaining first contracts…
Independence Party candidates made the difference in the Bachmann and Paulsen races and definitely affected the Senate race, said Mark Froemke, president of the West Area Labor Council that spans the western half of the state. ‘The Independence Party got a better number than I would have expected in this area,’ he said. Negativity of campaign commercials in the final days of the Senate race also had an effect.
Endorsed by Communist Mark Froemke
Interestingly, Minnesota/Dakota’s Communist Party leader, Mark Froemke, had already endorsed Al Franken.
On July 14, 2008, the Al Franken for U.S. Senate campaign announced that four new labor organizations have “joined its ever-growing coalition that’s fighting to send a senator to Washington who will stand with Minnesota’s middle class.”
The new endorsements were:
• Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union
• Minnesota State Council of UNITE HERE!
• Minnesota Postal Workers Union
• International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Local Union 1
“Minnesotans need a Senator who understands the needs of Minnesota families, and who won’t abandon them in a time of need,” declared Mark Froemke, Education Director of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union, Local 167G.
“Norm Coleman had a chance to support the families of the Red River Valley on CAFTA and, instead, he supported President Bush,” Froemke noted. “Al Franken will stand with farmers and workers and Minnesotans, and that’s why we stand with him in this election.”
Mark Ritchie’s Communist Party Connection
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie was also a covert “friend” of the Communist Party.
In December of 1999, a Communist Party meeting was held at the May Day Bookstore in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the purpose of reestablishing the CPUSA Farm Commission.
Party members present were Erwin Marquit, Helvi Savola, Jack Brown, Peter Molenaar, Morgan Soderburg, Bill Gudex, Mark Froemke, Scott Marshall, Gary Severson, Mike Madden, Becky Pera, Charlie Smith and Tim Wheeler.
Mark Ritchie also attended and addressed the meeting. In a written report on the meeting by Tim Wheeler, Ritchie is referred to as a “non-party friend” of the Communist Party. The report was marked “not for publication.”
On October 11, 2003, Mark Ritchie’s article, “A new beginning for WTO after Cancun,” was published in the CPUSA’s newspaper, People’s Weekly World. Ritchie was listed on the People’s Weekly World website as an author. The article had originally been published at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy website.
Ritchie also received approval from the CPUSA for his 2006 campaign.
Al Franken (left), Mark Froemke
In a July 8, 2006, People’s World article: “This Battle Can be Won!” the author underlined the importance of the elections for Secretary of State, “whose job is mandated as protecting voting rights and election practices.” They stated of Ritchie:
In Minnesota the DFL candidate for Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, of the League of Rural Voters could play a valuable national role.
Working with Communist Mark Froemke
U.S. Sen. Al Franken, (D-MN) and Mark Froemke, an AFL-CIO representative and Communist Party USA member, left the Grand Forks International Airport on January 11, 2012, after Franken flew into Grand Forks to spend two days talking to locked-out American Crystal Sugar Co. workers in the Red River Valley.
Socialist Wellstone Tribute
As the 2004 Democratic National Convention was about to commence in Boston, Jobs with Justice hosted a living tribute to the late Senator Paul Wellstone on July 25th. Hundreds filled the historic Old West Church to confront the question, “What must the Democratic Party do to live up to the progressive vision of Paul Wellstone?”
Wellstone, who died in office in a 2002 plane crash, was a long-time supporter of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and this was reflected in the speaking lineup.
“Paul had the courage to stand the pain that comes with standing for something and not fall for anything,” said United Steelworkers of America Union International President Leo Gerard, a long-time DSA affiliate. “That’s what the Democratic Party needs right now. He gave people a reason to fight, to hope.”
Rep. Major Owens (D-NY), a DSA member, pointed out that too many liberals, including Owens himself, voted for “welfare reform” in 1996. He praised Wellstone as the lone voice defending welfarism at the time.
Another DSA member, Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, fired up the audience with a call for “direct action” to ensure accountability from a John Kerry administration. “We need Kerry there and we need to be there to purge the cancer (of the Bush administration) from the soul of the body politic.”
Moderator Horace Small was also a DSA member, while speaker Jim Hightower, an author and radio personality, is a long-time DSA supporter.
Other panelists included Columbia University professor and DSA leader, Frances Fox Piven; Anna Burger, Vice President of the DSA-dominated SEIU; and “media personality,” Al Franken.
In 2009, Al Franken was listed as a member of the Advisory Board of Wellstone Action, a Minnesota based organization based on the political legacy of that state’s late ‘progressive’ Senator Paul Wellstone.
Franken shared duty on the Advisory Board with Democratic Socialists of America supporters or members Julian Bond, Heather Booth, Peter Edelman, Frances Fox Piven, Leo Gerard, Jim Hightower, Gerald McEntee, Deborah Olson and economist Robert Reich. SEIU boss Andy Stern and Communist Party affiliate and Minnesota Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie, were also on the roster.
The minutes of a Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America membership meeting, held at the Friends Meeting House in Decatur, Georgia on March 1, 2008, included reference to a report by Milt Tambor on DSA support for Congressional and Senate candidates in the 2008 election:
4) Milt reported that DSA is calling on locals to support progressive candidates for Congress and the Senate, mainly through fundraisers and volunteering. Al Franken (MN) and one other have been suggested; more details will follow…
Foreign Policy/National Security
Supported by Council for a Livable World
The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, supported Al Franken in his successful Senate run as candidate for Minnesota.
Council for a Livable World, 50th Anniversary
On June 6, 2012, Council for a Livable World, along with its sister organizations Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Council for a Livable World’s PeacePAC celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their founding by Leo Szilard in 1962.
There were speeches and toasts by Senator Al Franken, Representative Shelley Berkley (D-NV), former Representative and PeacePAC Chairman Tom Andrews (D-ME), former Cabinet Secretary Norman Mineta and Communications Workers of America President, Larry Cohen.
“Agent Orange” Campaign Connection
In July of 2010, Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, a leading clinician/researcher on the effects of Agent Orange on women and children in Vietnam (from Tu Du Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City), visited Washington, D.C. with “Agent Orange victim” and student, Ms. Tran Thi Hoan.
Front Left, Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, Al Franken, Tran Thi Hoan (seated), Susan Schall and Merle Ratner (July 15, 2010)
On July 15, 2010, at the Third Hearing on Agent Orange in Vietnam: Recent Developments in Remediation, Rayburn House Office Building, VAVA (Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin), Tran Thi Hoan testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment.
This was the first time a victim of Agent Orange had spoken to Congress. The “victim, the well-received Ms. Tran Thi Hoan, who has no legs, received a lot of attention.”
Dr. Phuong and Tran Thi Hoan were accompanied by Merle Ratner of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and Susan Schall (both leaders of the Committees of Correspondence-dominated Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign). This Marxist led campaign was set up to extract money from the U.S. taxpayers for the Committees of Correspondence’s communist friends in Vietnam.
The party met with Minnesota Senator Al Franken.
KeyWiki.org Page: http://keywiki.org/index.php/Al_Franken
Election Facts for 2014:
• Party – Democrat
• State – Minnesota
• Location – Minnesota Senate
• First Elected – 2009
• Candidates in 2014:
Al Franken – D
Julianne Ortman – R
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