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Baltimore mourns Rep. Elijah Cummings, who 'Fought for All.' Also on our rundown: Rick Perry headed for door as Energy Secretary; and EPA holds its only hearing on rolling back methane regulations.

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While controversy swirls at the White House, Chicago teachers go on strike, and Democratic primary contender retired Admiral Joe Sestak walks 105 miles across New Hampshire.

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Franken Meets Labor Supporters at Statehouse Rally

July 2, 2009

St. Paul, MN – Newly-elected Sen. Al Franken told a strong pro-labor rally at the State Capitol Tuesday afternoon he’s not going to "waste this chance." On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court ruled Franken won the election over incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman, who chose not to continue to a higher court.

Donald McFarland, Minnesota director of Americans United for Change, says the state will finally have full representation in the Senate, which should help move the nation toward clean energy and good jobs.

"It’s been a tough road these last several years for Minnesota workers, from the Employee Free Choice Act to prevailing wage laws and fair trade. These are things that are so important to all of us in this country, and we’re so happy and excited that Senator Franken's going to look after our interests."

Labor's top priority is good health care coverage at an affordable cost, says McFarland.

"It really is the one issue that is strangling America’s workers. We can’t afford health care in this country. We don’t have accessibility. This is the issue that is in the front of all of our minds."

The state's unions wish former Sen. Coleman the best and want to show their appreciation for his service to the state, McFarland adds.

The battle between Coleman and Franken lasted 239 days beyond the election. Franken won by 312 votes, and the contested election cost the candidates a combined $11 million. Democrats will now have a 60-senator majority. Congress is on holiday break.


Jim Wishner, Public News Service - MN