When Sen. Franken visited Ely recently, his staff didn't release many details about who he visited. Chuck Hanna, the executive editor of the Mesabi Daily News, expressed his disgust in this article:
The Washington office of U.S. Sen. Al Franken on Wednesday afternoon finally confirmed what was rumor nailed down as fact for a couple days: the Democratic senator will be in Ely today.
But the announcement was sketchy on details, not even mentioning at least three meetings already known by many people. And that includes one that supposedly will deal with the controversial School Trust Fund land that has been locked inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area since 1977 rather than being allowed to provide revenue for Minnesota schoolchildren.
The belated news release, received at 2:10 p.m. Wednesday via email from Franken’s office, only mentioned a tour of Vermilion Community College to meet with the provost, employees and students and then to have a “media availability” at 3:20 p.m.
However, the release was more revealing for what it didn’t contain, than that one and only detail in it.
Franken reportedly has meetings, all behind closed doors, starting around 10 a.m. on the Vermilion campus. At least one meeting is scheduled with “elected officials”to discuss a possible BWCAW land swap on the School Trust Fund issue. There are perhaps other meetings with unspecified “constituent groups.”
Sen. Franken is notorious for not meeting with people that might confront him on his liberal beliefs. Clearly, Sen. Franken thought that he might get criticized for not acting on the BWCAW land swap had he met with his constituents on the Range.
Chip Cravaack showed leadership on the land swap issue while in office. Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken didn't. They sat on their thumbs last session. They didn't want to vote for a bill that would've earned Rep. Cravaack praise on the Range.
When he was a radio talk show host on Air America, Sen. Franken was famous for his temper and his extremist positions on issues. Now that he's a US senator, he's tried his best to hide his temper and his extremist positions, something that he's been moderately successful at.
He's pulled it off for two reasons. First, the Twin Cities media outlets haven't questioned him on why he hasn't held any open-to-the-public events in his 5 years in the Senate. Second, he's hidden his temper by only meeting with supporters.
There's a good probability that his GOP opponent will call him on his unwillingness to meet with constituents that don't agree with him.
Finally, it's pretty disgusting that Sen. Franken isn't willing to have his constituents hold him accountable for his votes.