Meet Lt. Gov Tina Smith, Al Franken's Replacement
By: Ellie Blaser
The Associated Press had reported that Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has chosen Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to fill Sen. Al Franken’s seat until the November election. Smith will run in that election to complete the final two years of Franken’s term. Smith will become the 22nd woman to serve in the Senate.
While an official statement has not come yet, Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to make the announcement of his selection today at 10 a.m. Central time.
As the Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, Smith is a member of the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, a Minnesotan social liberal political party that has ties to the Democratic Party. In 2016 she was named by CQ Roll Call as one of America's Top 25 Most Influential Women in State Politics, and is a former vice president of a regional Planned Parenthood.
Smith has served as Dayton’s number two since 2014, and Dayton has reportedly treated her as an equal in his post, causing many to speculate that she would succeed him.
This comes on the heels of Senator Franken resigning over sexual misconduct allegations. At least eight women have made allegations against him thus far, and in the days before his decision, many democratic senators pressured him to resign from his post.
“Some of the allegations against me are simply not true,” Franken said during his resignation speech. “Others I remember very differently.”
One of the aftermaths of the recent national conversation surrounding sexual assault and harassment is that many high profile men have been losing their jobs. In some cases, this has resulted in these positions being filled by women and people of color who are just as, if not more, competent than the men they are replacing, but who have not been given the same opportunities to prove themselves. Tina Smith is just another instance of a progressive woman being brought into the Senate to help make it a more equal and fair place for all.