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U.S. Senator Al Franken was born on May 21, 1951, and grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. In 1973, he graduated from Harvard, where he met his wife Franni. They've been married for 39 years, and have two grown children, Thomasin and Joe. The couple's first grandchild, Joe, was born to Thomasin and her husband Brody in May 2013. Before running for the Senate, Al spent 37 years as a comedy writer, author, and radio talk show host and has taken part in seven USO tours, visiting our troops overseas in Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Uzbekistan-as well as visiting Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait four times.
First elected to the Senate in 2008, and re-elected in 2014, he currently sits on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee; the Judiciary Committee; the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Committee on Indian Affairs.
Getting Things Done for Minnesota
Sen. Franken has built a successful record of legislative accomplishments by standing up for Minnesota's interests and finding commonsense, bipartisan solutions that improve people's lives. He's traveled to communities across the state and turned Minnesota ideas into national policy.
His work has improved health care for families and businesses, preserved Americans' privacy, reformed dangerous Wall Street practices, modernized farm policy, and helped ensure American workers are trained to fill the jobs being created.
Improving Health Care: Sen. Franken's provision in the 2010 health reform law requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on actual health care-not administrative costs, marketing, CEO salaries, or profits. If insurers don't meet the requirement, they must rebate the difference. The measure has already sent billions of dollars in rebates to millions of consumers across the country, and it's helped address the rising cost of premiums for families and businesses alike. The idea came from the state of Minnesota, and Sen. Franken made it a money-saving national health policy.
Reforming Wall Street: In the wake of 2008's devastating financial meltdown that destroyed millions of jobs and stole trillions of dollars from Americans' savings and retirement plans, Sen. Franken's bipartisan provision to reform Wall Street credit rating agencies became law. It is designed to help prevent future meltdowns by ending a dangerous conflict of interest that let the credit rating agencies to give Triple-A ratings to investments they knew were "junk." When the house of cards the industry helped build came down, millions of unwitting investors and retirees who relied on those ratings were hurt.
Modernizing U.S. Farm Policy: With one-in-five Minnesota jobs related to agriculture, Sen. Franken knows how critically important the industry is to our state's economy. That's why he helped write the 2014 Farm Bill. He helped author the bill's energy section to expand use of renewable energies, and to help farmers and rural small businesses make their operations more energy efficient. During the Farm Bill debate, Sen. Franken worked to strengthen a provision to help new and beginning farmers and ranchers get their operations off the ground. Sen. Franken also led the fight to preserve the nation's sugar program, which supports thousands of Minnesota jobs.
Improving Mental Health in Schools: After hearing from Minnesota parents, education leaders, and mental health experts about how important mental health services are to schools and to improving the lives of students and their families, Sen. Franken helped successfully push for millions of dollars for schools in Minnesota and across the country. The work was based on in his own Mental Health in Schools Act.
Training Minnesota Workers for 21st Century Jobs: With employers in Minnesota and across the country unable to fill millions of high-demand jobs because they can't find workers with the right training, Sen. Franken has worked with educators, businesses and students across the state to address this "skills gap." Sen. Franken helped pass into law a major workforce development bill in 2014 that encourages the creation of partnerships between businesses and schools similar to provisions in Sen. Franken's Community College to Career Fund Act.
Preserving Americans' Privacy: Sen. Franken has been a leading voice in the Senate to protect Americans' privacy as technology continues to quickly advance. Sen. Franken has worked to ensure that consumers control the information being collected about them, including sensitive information found in mobile device records and electronic medical records. His Location Protection Privacy Act would ban so-called "stalking apps" that reveal citizens' private location information without their consent.
Standing up for Minnesotans
Sen. Franken has traveled to all 87 counties, meeting with Minnesotans about issues important to them, and providing assistance them when they call on him for help. From going to bat for Minnesota veterans who didn't receive the medals they've earned, to clearing red tape for Minnesota families and businesses dealing with the federal bureaucracy, he and his staff have helped secure Social Security, Medicare, or Veterans Benefits, and assisted on issues like immigration, housing programs, student loans or applying for a passport or visa. Since coming to the Senate, he has:
- Answered more than 892,000 constituent letters
- Had his office work with more than 19,200 Minnesotans who asked for assistance with a problem
- Has visited all 87 counties, held more than 1,300 official Senate events across Minnesota, and met with thousands of Minnesotans from all walks of life in his Washington, D.C. office.