I worked for Al Franken for one day back in the early 1990’s. I was an aspiring television producer (I am aware of how lame that sounds) and freelanced in New York City, picking up work that was even remotely related to television production. Through some contacts, I was given a one-day job answering phones for Al Franken, when he was still a television comedy writer.
Since then, Al Franken has had a prime role in the formulation and growth of the progressive, political radio network Air America. Now, Franken is running to represent Minnesotans in the U.S. Senate as a Democrat against conservative, Republican Senator Norm Coleman.
But for some progressive groups and Democratic legislators, Franken’s past has been difficult to hurdle. Back in June 2008, Planned Parenthood sent an email to the Minnesota DFL calling an essay Al Franken had written a few years ago "misogynist" and "degrading to women," signaling discontent with Franken’s ability to represent the women of his state as Senator.
U.S. Representative Betty McCollum said about Franken’s material, "As a woman, mother, a former teacher and an elected official, I find this material completely unacceptable."
But, according to the Minnesota Independent today, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota (PPMNS) Action Fund and Rep. Betty McCollum, along with other legislators, have endorsed Franken and are ready to work to ensure a win for Franken against anti-choice, social conservative Norm Coleman.
PPMNS Action Fund president Sarah Stoesz said last week, "We believe Al Franken is the U.S. Senate candidate that Minnesota women and families can count on to protect and strengthen their health and rights. We know that Al Franken will stand with Minnesotans on reproductive health and on affordable and quality health care for all."
As RH Reality Check reports, on our Election 2008 page, while Franken does not have a record to track on reproductive and sexual health and rights issues, his opponent, Senator Norm Coleman has consistently received a 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee. Coleman has voted against funding for family planning clinics abroad and opposes access to abortion services for women in this country.
PPMNS spokesperson Tim Stanley, on Minnesota Independent, said that it was the clear differences between Franken and Coleman on these issues that caused PPMNS Action Fund to endorse Franken:
"The answer was clear: Al Franken will stand up for women’s health care," he said. "He will be a leader in improving access to quality health care for women and will support and protect a woman’s right to choose. Planned Parenthood intends to defeat Norm Coleman in the fall, and Al Franken is the candidate to do just that."
For more on this race and other key Senate and House races, the Presidential election and reproductive and sexual health and rights related ballot measures, visit our newly updated and re-designed Election 2008 page!