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Al Franken marks last day as US senator after sexual misconduct accusations

 Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — Minnesota Democrat Al Franken will serve his last day as a U.S. senator Tuesday.

Franken, who served eight years as senator, was forced to resign after multiple women came forward late last year and accused him of sexual misconduct. Franken apologized several times, but ultimately announced his resignation after a wave of his Democratic colleagues urged him to step aside.

Minnesota Lieutenant Gov. Tina Smith will be replacing him in the Senate. She is expected to be sworn-in on Wednesday. A special election will be held to permanently fill the seat during the midterm election in November.

In his final speech on the Senate floor last month, Franken slammed the policies pursued by President Trump’s administration and Republicans in Congress related to tax reform, climate change and health care.

“You know, before I came to the Senate, I was known as something of an obsessive on the subject of honesty in public discourse,” Franken said then. “But, as I leave the Senate, I have to admit that it feels like we are losing the war for truth. Maybe it’s already lost.”

He urged his colleagues — both Democrats and Republicans — to seek the truth and stand up for a more honest debate.

“So what is to be done? Who will stand up and fight for a more honest debate — to insist that, even though we have a different set of opinions, we cannot honorably advance our competing agendas unless we use the same set of facts?” Franken said.

“Well, I hope that my colleagues -— on both sides of the aisle — will stand up for truth. The thing is, I have spent enough time with my Republican friends over the last eight and a half years to know that you are motivated by values, just like Democrats,” Franken said. “I just hope that you will fight for those values forthrightly.”
 
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