Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to the U.S. Senate Wednesday, replacing Sen. Al Franken as he prepares to resign amid groping allegations.
“Though I never anticipated this moment, I am resolved to do everything I can to move Minnesota forward,” Smith said in a speech Wednesday. “Now my job will be to go to Washington D.C. to continue working on behalf of Minnesota and our country.”
In a speech Wednesday, Dayton said Smith will best serve Minnesotans as senator.
Smith will serve on the U.S. Senate until next November, when she will run in a special election to fill the seat. Franken’s term ends in 2021.
“I will do my best to earn Minnesotan’s support, and I believe the way to do that is by being the best senator that I can be,” Smith said in her speech.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said in a statement Wednesday that Smith was aptly qualified to “hit the ground running.”
“During her years of experience serving our state, Lt. Gov. Smith has shown herself to be a capable and effective leader who has worked to improve the lives of Minnesotans,” Klobuchar said.
Franken announced his resignation from the floor of the U.S. Senate on Dec. 7, after a seventh accuser, reported by Politico, accused Franken of forcibly kissing her.
Smith thanked Franken for his service in Wednesday’s speech, calling him a “champion” for the state.
Minnesota Senate President Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, will fill Smith’s position as lieutenant governor.