ST. PAUL -(Workday Minnesota) U.S. Senator Al Franken and his supporters gathered Wednesday on the steps of the state Capitol in St. Paul to celebrate the close of a difficult election process.
“How many senators does Minnesota have?” shouted U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum of St. Paul, holding up two fingers.

Franken’s win at the Minnesota Supreme Court is a long awaited victory for working families and for DFL supporters. Those in the crowd of hundreds cheered as speakers mentioned his legislative agenda.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minneapolis, also in attendance, led an impromptu call and response with the crowd, welcoming Franken to Washington and to the battle of national politics.

After the audience chanted his name, Franken arrived at the podium. The senator began his speech by thanking his wife. He later became teary while acknowledging that the strain of waiting six months to take office pales in comparison to the tough times many Minnesota families are going through.

Many of the rally’s speakers thanked organized labor for its support of Franken’s campaign, and union members responded with loud cheers. Members of United Auto Workers Local 879, which represents workers at the St. Paul Ford plant, waved a large flag with their union’s logo.

“This is what we expect for a senator in the state of Minnesota who, in the Paul Wellstone mode, went against the tide and declared it was not over,” said Ray Waldron, president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO.

Eliot Seide, director of Council 5 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents 43,000 public and non-profit workers statewide, was similarly pleased. “The voice of working families just got louder in Congress, and that’s good news for America,’ he said.

Franken did not specifically outline his legislative agenda, but indicated his support for organized labor by telling the crowd he is currently a member of four labor unions, without which he and Franni would not have had health insurance for the last three years.

Rose Friedman is an intern with the Union Advocate, the official publication of the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation.