Health care tops Franken’s priority list

Associated Press

ST. PAUL — With the drawn-out Senate race behind him, Democrat Al Franken said he’s looking forward to getting to work in Washington — and one of his first priorities will be affordable health care.

Franken told Minnesota Public Radio on Wednesday that he’s inclined to support a public health care plan, but that he needs to see what unfolds in Washington.

A day after he was certified as the winner of the Senate race over Republican Norm Coleman, the former "Saturday Night Live" writer and actor also spoke about his expectation to be on the Judiciary Committee, where he would play a role in the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

Franken says he wants to ask Sotomayor about campaign finance reform.


"I’m really looking forward to the confirmation hearings," he said. "I think she’ll pass."

He also spoke about the economy. When asked if he thought another economic stimulus package was needed, he said he wasn’t sure, but he noted all the money in the current stimulus package hasn’t been distributed yet, so the full effects of that remain to be seen.

He also said it will take time for President Barack Obama to fix the economic problems he inherited when he took office.

Franken’s victory gives Democrats 60 Senate seats, the number needed to overcome Republican filibusters. He told MPR he hopes filibuster-busting isn’t necessary — he’d rather come to bipartisan agreements.

And while he plans to put his head down, work hard, and get the respect of his colleagues, he won’t lose the sense of humor that made him famous on "Saturday Night Live."

"I think that humor can play a positive roll in bringing people together and lightening things up, and I’m planning to do that," he said.

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