'Informed' Franken Wows Lawmakers

Between Sotomayor and health care, comedian-turned-senator has been busy
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2009 4:52 PM CDT
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., works in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, July 31, 2009.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – A few weeks into his much-delayed Senate career, Al Franken is already winning plaudits from colleagues on both sides of the aisle, the AP reports. A member of two key Senate committees, the Minnesota Democrat has jumped into hot-button debates—like Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation and health care reform—and co-sponsored six bills. He struck his first victory by partnering with a Republican colleague to create a program pairing service dogs with wounded veterans.

“He'd done his homework. He was very informed,” said GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson. “It was obvious he was trying to hit the ground running.” Fellow Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin called Franken a “quick study” on health care. Franken, who waged an 8-month battle with incumbent Norm Coleman for the seat, said, “I’ve got a lot of work to do. I've got to get up to speed very, very quickly, so I'm focused on that.”