Al Franken made a stop in Rochester yesterday, meeting with city and county officials to discuss their budget concerns and the federal stimulus package. This was just one of his stops as Franken travels around the state to meet with officials for these economic round tables.
But the trip is drawing heavy criticism from Republican Norm Coleman's campaign. A spokesman for the campaign called the Democrats visit "a publicity stunt."
In an e-mailed statement, spokesman Luke Friedrich wrote "While Al Franken tries to play senator for a day, his lawyers are in St. Paul fighting against counting the votes of the same Minnesotans Al Franken claims he wants to represent."
Franken's staff has begun referring to him as "senator elect." During his meeting with local officials, he was asked about whether he plans to open a Rochester office. Franken said he would probably ask Sen. Amy Klobuchar if he could share space in her office, opening his own office in Mankato.
As for the Coleman campaign's criticism, Franken said he is trying to make sure he is prepared to assume senate duties once the legal case is wrapped up. Officials emphasized that the biggest challenging is figure out how to access the stimulus dollars.
Franken told local leaders "It seems like the number one message that I am getting is, for myself anyway, that part of my job is to help communities figure out how to access the package."