Franken begins to hire Senate staffby Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio
Democrat Al Franken has begun hiring staffers for his planned Senate office.
St. Paul, Minn. — Franken told Minnesota Public Radio News he has selected Alana Petersen to serve as his State Director. Petersen has been working for DFL Congressman Jim Oberstar for the past five years.
Franken said Petersen will have one of the most important jobs in his office and he said her charge will go well beyond providing basic constituent services.
"It means having listening sessions," Franken said. "It means going out and doing townhalls with different groups with veterans, about health care and really being able to identify problems in communities maybe before people in the communities know exactly what to do or what they need from Washington."
Franken said despite Republican Norm Coleman's expected state Supreme Court appeal, he expects to eventually be seated in the Senate. He said he needs to assemble a staff so he's ready.
"It's a little difficult because we're still in a little bit of a legal limbo but we, again, I don't want to be presumptuous but I feel like it's irresponsible not to get a jump on this," Franken said.
Franken has not yet named a chief of staff. He said he plans to use former DFL Senator Paul Wellstone's outreach efforts as a model for his Senate office.