“It has been a remarkable couple of months. Our recount brought national attention to Minnesota, and what Americans saw is that we take our democracy seriously. Our recount process was long, it was fair, and it was thorough. We should all be proud of our state, and we should all be grateful for the incredible hard work and dedication of all of our elections officials, from the state canvassing board and the Secretary of State’s office to the officials in the cities and counties and precincts of Minnesota.
“After 62 days, after the careful and painstaking hand inspection of nearly 3 million ballots, after hours and hours of hard work by elections officials and volunteers across the state, I am proud and humbled to stand before you as the next Senator from Minnesota.
“This victory is incredibly humbling - not just because it was so narrow, but because of the tremendous responsibility it gives me on behalf of the people of Minnesota.
“While the recount process played out, the challenges facing our state and our nation have only grown. With tensions in the Middle East reaching the boiling point, our economy facing its worst crisis since the 1930s, and Minnesota’s middle class families being squeezed harder than ever, it’s clear that we have a lot of important work to do.
“I want you all to know that I’m ready to go to Washington and get to work just as soon as possible. And I look forward to joining President-Elect Obama and Senator Klobuchar in getting our country moving in the right direction again.
“I know this is not an easy day for Norm Coleman and his family, and I know that because Franni and I and the kids have had plenty of time over the past two months to contemplate the possibility that this election would turn out differently. Norm has worked hard for this state and this country, and I hope to ask for his help to ensure that Minnesotans can continue to count on receiving excellent constituent services from their two Senators without interruption.
“I also know that this was a hard-fought victory, and that I didn’t win the support of every Minnesotan. I’m going to have to earn it by being a Senator who fights for every Minnesotan, whether you voted for me or not. And I want every Minnesotan to hear me say: I work for you now. And I will work hard to earn your confidence.
“There may still be additional legal proceedings related to our recount. But I’m now in the business of serving the people of Minnesota. And the best way I can serve the people of Minnesota right now is to focus all my attention and all my energies on getting to work for them on the issues we’ll be facing together.
“I would like to close by doing something I wish I’d gotten a chance to do properly on Election Night, and that is to thank some people. My amazing staff and supporters across the state who made this victory possible and stuck with us this whole way. All the volunteers who woke up the morning after Election Day and got right back to work to help our recount effort. Our state’s dedicated elections officials, our tremendous congressional delegation, and our fantastic Senator, Amy Klobuchar, who continues to be a mentor and an inspiration. And, of course, my beautiful wife Franni and our amazing family.
“For our state, today marked the end of a long process that will forever be a part of Minnesota history. But today is also a beginning. The history of our country will be forever altered by what we do together to address the challenges we face together. So, with tremendous gratitude for the victory we have won, I’m ready to get to work.
Monday, January 5, 2009
A word from the Senator Elect
From Al Franken: