Tina Smith joins a busy Congress, stepping in for embattled Al Franken

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - From Lt. Governor to the U.S. Senate. Tina Smith (D-MN) is now the junior senator from Minnesota. Taking over for the embattled Al Franken (D-MN) faced with allegations of sexual harassment, Smith’s swearing in starts a new chapter for the state. She says she plans to continue being a champion for her people.

Sen. Smith (D-MN) says she'll look to find common ground with Republicans on Capitol Hill.

“Minnesotans expect me to be watching out for them and to be speaking for them in Washington, D.C. That’s what I’ve done as Lieutenant Governor and that’s what I intend to do in Washington, D.C,” said Smith.

Appointed by Governor Mark Dayton, Smith enters a Congress with a packed 2018 agenda. In addition to national issues like funding the government, addressing immigration, funding a health care program for children, and more, Smith says she’s listening to constituents before she lays out her Minnesota-specific priorities.

“Every community is different and my job is to take all of those issues and bring them here to Washington, D.C.,” said Smith.

Smith joins a divided Senate as one of 22 women and 49 Democrats. She says there are philosophical differences between her and those across the aisle, but she wants to build relationships to find common ground on things like the economy and infrastructure.

“They don’t send us here just to fight with each other, they send us here to get things done,” said Smith.

Smith says she’s being realistic about what she can accomplish here on Capitol Hill. With a GOP majority across Washington she says she realizes it will be difficult to accomplish certain things. But, she is optimistic she can help move the Minnesota agenda forward.

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