History Franken was born in New York City to Phoebe G. (Kunst), a homemaker and real estate agent, and Joseph P. Franken, a printing salesman. Franken had a Jewish upbringing and grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, a suburb near Minneapolis. Franken attended Saint Louis Park High School until the tenth grade. He graduated in 1969 from The Blake School, where he was on the wrestling team. He attended Harvard University and graduated cum laude in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in general studies.
Franken met his wife, the former Franni Bryson, in his first year at college at a Harvard-Simmons mixer, and they have been together ever since. They have a daughter, Thomasin, and a son, Joe (both attended New York City's Dalton School). Joe graduated from Princeton University in June 2007, and Thomasin is a public school teacher in New York City, with a degree in sociology from Harvard University. The Frankens reside in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
Franken's performing career began in high school, where he and longtime writing partner Tom Davis were known for their humor. Franken honed his writing and performing skills at Minneapolis's Dudley Riggs' Brave New Workshop theater specializing in political satire.
2008 U.S. Senate campaign
Main article: Minnesota United States Senate election, 2008 On January 29, 2007, Al Franken announced his departure from Air America Radio. On the day of his final show, February 14, Franken formally announced that he would run for the United States Senate for Minnesota in 2008. He is expected to be challenged by several other Democrats, including Mike Ciresi, a wealthy trial lawyer, and Jim Cohen, an attorney and human rights activist.
On April 13, 2007, Al Franken's campaign finance report was filed. He was able to raise $1.35 million dollars in the first quarter of 2007. The incumbent senator, Norm Coleman, was able to raise $1.53 million dollars. On July 8, 2007, the Franken campaign stated that it expected to announce that Franken had out-fundraised Coleman during the second quarter of the year, taking in $1.9 million to Coleman's $1.6 million, although as of early July 2007, Coleman's $3.8 million cash on hand exceeded Franken's $2 million.
Franken is opposed to the 2007 troop surge in Iraq, and has been a vocal critic of the war for several years; however, he supported the invasion at the time (a fact he often admitted, with regret, on his radio program). In an interview with the MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, Franken said he “believed Colin Powell”, whose UN presentation convinced him that the war was necessary. Franken now believes that Congress should refuse to pass appropriations bills to fund the war if they don't include timetables for leaving Iraq. In an interview with Josh Marshall, Franken said of the Democrats, "I think we've gotta make [Bush] say, 'OK, I'm cutting off funding because I won't agree to a timetable.'"
He favors transitioning to a universal health care system with the proviso that every child in America should receive healthcare coverage immediately and believes that pensions and Social Security should be protected. He wants to cut tax breaks for oil companies, increase money available for college students and cut interest rates on student loans.
During the 2004 presidential election, Franken was at a rally for governor Howard Dean in his bid for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination. A protestor attempted to shout down the governor, who was taking questions from the audience. According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, at that point, "Franken and three other men escort[ed] the second heckler out the stage door." Franken said he wasn't backing Dean, but that he was upholding the right to free speech, and that he "would have done it if [the heckler] was a Dean supporter at a Kerry rally."Insert non-formatted text here
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