Senator Smith should look north as she heads to DC

When Al Franken announced his resignation from the U.S. Senate after being accused of a multitude of sexual harassment incidents, his time in the spotlight faded quickly.
With the appointment of Lt. Gov. Tina Smith by Gov. Mark Dayton to fill the soon-to-be vacant seat, we hope northern Minnesota isn’t lost in the shuffle.
Just when Franken will be a former senator is still unknown. His resignation speech was missing two key points: a sincere apology and a date he would be done. We’re still waiting.
Smith may well have been one of the most active lieutenant governors in the state’s history, but she hasn’t been a frequent visitor to Ely, much less north of Duluth.
When the 2015 Governor’s Fishing Opener was held at Fortune Bay, Smith filled in for a fragile Dayton and created a memorable faux pas. Smith mistakenly addressed dignitaries of the Bois Forte band as being Fond du Lac instead. Minnesota nice kicked in and her slip up was swept under the rug.
After Dayton’s announcement naming Smith to the soon-to-be vacant seat, there were all kinds of politicians (mainly Democrats of course) stating their appreciation for Smith being appointed.
Interestingly, after Franken announced he would be leaving in the near future, there was plenty of speculation on who would get the prime appointment. A one year trial run with the opportunity to run as an incumbent in the 2018 election.
Rep. Rick Nolan threw out two names that we believe would’ve been much better. Former state representative Carly Melin and current Duluth mayor Emily Larson. Both have the right geographic base and know the issues so important to northeast Minnesota.
We really don’t know if Tina Smith will be a good senator for our neck of the woods. She hasn’t spent much time here and her background is more Twin Cities based than outstate Minnesota.
She has already said she will be a candidate for the senate seat in 2018. If she doesn’t make inroads into the 218 area code, Smith will find herself on the outside looking in come election time.
And there won’t be a political plum picked for her that time around.