Monday, November 11, 2013

Better know a politician: Al Franken

Name: Al Franken

Current Position: United States Senator

Political Party: Democratic

State: Minnesota

Tenure: 2009-present

Previous position: Author, on-air radio host, and comedian

Future position: Franken will be running for re-election in 2014 for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota.  Franken has been mentioned by some as a possible Presdential candidate in 2016. 

Previous election:
2008 U.S. Senate Minnesota

Al Franken (D): 41.99%
Norm Coleman (R): 41.83%
Dean Barkley (Independence): 15.15%

Future election: Franken is up for re-election in 2014 for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota.

Polling numbers:
Public Policy Polling, 05/20/13
Al Franken (D): 51
Mike McFadden (R): 36
Not sure: 13

Al Franken (D): 52
Julianne Ortman (R): 35
Not sure: 13

Public Policy Polling, 10/31/13
Al Franken (D): 49
Mike McFadden (R): 38
Not sure: 13

Al Franken (D): 49
Julianne Ortman (R): 38
Not sure: 13

Al Franken (D): 50
Jim Abeler (R): 38
Not sure: 12

Al Franken (D): 49
Kenneth Dahlberg (R): 39
Not sure: 12

Leadership positions:
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

Fundraising, 2014 cycle, source: OpenSecrets
Raised: $16,391,267
Spent: $13,933,270
Cash on hand: $3,893,286

Top contributors, 2014 cycle:
1. Susman & Godfrey LLC: $34,510
2. Cooney and Conway: $23,950
3. DLA Piper: $21,200
4. Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP: $19,750
5. Nextera Energy: $18,750

On the issues

Abortion
  • Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record and/or issue stance
  • Sponsored legislation to provide emergency contraception to millitary facilities
  • Wants to require pharmacies to prescribe contraceptive medication
  • Sponsored legislation which would allow the military to perform abortions in cases of rape or incest
  • Co-signed a letter in praise of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis for her filibuster of SB 5
  • Sponsored a bill that would allow easier access to rape kits and analysis
Animal Rights/Welfare
  • Has a mixed record on animal rights or welfare.  Given a 40% by the Humae Society Legislative Fund in 2012 and 56% in 2013.
  • Voted to regulate dog breeders to 50 kennels
Budget/Economy
  • Opposed the Wall Street or banking bailout as he thought it only helped Wall Street and not normal people
  • Voted in favor of additional stimulus spending
  • Voted against the Paul Ryan's budget
  • Would like a minimum tax of 30% on those making $1 million or more
  • Wants to invest in nation's infrastructure
  • Given a 5% rating by the Conservative National Taxpayer's Union
  • Given a 40% rating by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Wants to expand lending caps for credit unions to expand loans to small businesses
Campaign finance reform
  • Vocal opponent of the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United
  • Believes that we need full disclosure of all independent expenditures

Civil Rights
  • Issued an apology for his comic routines that offended women
  • Voted yes on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act
  • Co-sponsored the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, (ENDA), which seeks to prohibit employer discrimination based on sexual identity or sexual orientation
  • Seeks to enforce penalties on those who participate in wage discrimination based on gender
  • Supported the repeal of Don't Ask, don't tell, and wanted to reinstate discharged gays
  • Has been calling for more transparency for government surveillance programs
  • Given a 75% rating by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) indicating a positive record on civil liberties
  • Voted in favor of pohibiting the indefinite detention of citizens and lawful permanent residents
  • Questions the use of fingerprint and facial recognition software for technology purposes, such as the iPhone on privacy grounds
  • Supports same-sex marriage; believed that DOMA was unconstitutional
  • Given 100% rating by the Human Rights Campaign
  • Opposes drones used by police departments based on privacy grounds
  • Opposed the amendment that allowed religious institutions to discriminate on employment based on sexual identity or orientation
  • Believes that torture and interrogation prohibited by the Geneva convention should be barred
  • Introduced an amendment that would withold defense contracts from companies that prevent employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery, and discrimination cases to court
Drugs
  • In the past has ridiculed the idea of punishing drug abusers in prison
Education
  • Wants to radically reform No Child Left Behind
  • Wants to create a $5,000 tax credit to help people pay for college
  • Supports investment in early childhood education
  • Wants to fully fund public school systems
  • Sponsored legislation that would give $25 billion to renovate or repair elementary schools
  • Has supported efforts for loan forgiveness for those who pledge to serve in underserved areas
  • Sponsored bill that would make more kids eligible for free or reduced lunch
  • Believes that sex education should be a combination fo abstinence education and contraception education

Environment/Energy
  • Supports cap and trade
  • Critical of the United States for not doing more and not signing the Kyoto protocol
  • Would like to give tax credits for those producing windpower, take away tax credits from oil companies
  • Voted against barring the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases
Foreign policy
  • Initial supporter of the Iraqi War but opposed the surge of troops
  • Believes that we should pay our UN dues
  • Does not support intervening in Iran
  • Rated +2 by the Arab American Institute, indicating pro-Arab, pro-Palestine voting record
  • Supporter of Israel against Hamas
  • Believed that by 2008, Iraq was a mistake and we should withdraw troops
  • Believes in building schools in Afghanistan to keep people away from Al-Qaeda
Free trade
  • Believes in fair trade
Gun control
  • Voted in favor of the Manchin-Toomey amendment requiring background checks on all gun purchases
  • Would like to ban large-capacity ammunition
  • Voted in favor of banning magazines of over 10 bullets
  • Voted in favor of the most recent assault weapons bill
  • Voted against the bill requiring conceal-carry reciprocity between states
  • Supports background checks on all gun purchases and live firearms training for carry permits
  • Rated 0% by the Gun Owners of America, indicating a gun-control stance
Health care
  • Supporter of the single payer health care system
  • Authored the medical loss ratio amendment to the Affordable Care Act, which required health insurance companies to spend at least 80% of premiums on actual health care costs and 85% for large group plans
  • Supports the repeal of the medical device tax included int he Affordable Care Act
  • Supporter of the Affordable Care Act
  • Would like payments from medical manufacturers to physicians to be fully disclosed
Immigration
  • Voted in favor of the Gang of Eigth's comprehensive immigration reform bill
  • Supporter of comprehensive immigration reform
Labor
  • Member of four unions
  • Believes in raising the minimum wage to a living wage
  • Supports card-check union forming as opposed to secret ballots
  • Rated 86% by the United Food and Commerical Workers International Union indicating a pro-union record
Veterans
  • Create a new G.I. bill that would fund 100% of college
  • Help veterans re-integrate into society
  • Create better screening for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder




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