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Al Franken: What's next? 'I'm not quite ready to answer yet.'

Minnesota Senator Al Franken speaks to supporters at the Machine Shop Event space in Minneapolis on Thursday, Dec. 28. He scheduled the event to say "thank you" and tell Minnesotans that his voice won't be quieted despite his resignation amidst sexual abuse allegations. His last day in office will be Jan. 2. He will be replaced by Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. (Pioneer Press / John Autey)

ST. PAUL — Al Franken, what's next for you?

"It's a good question, and one I'm not quite ready to answer yet."

That's how the former U.S. Senator answers the question in a letter to supporters that arrived in inboxes Friday morning.

In January, the Minneapolis Democrat resigned in the middle of his second term amid allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior from multiple women. Gov. Mark Dayton appointed then-Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, a Democrat, as a short-term replacement. The seat will be up for election in November. Smith is running, and state Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Mary's Point, is mounting a campaign against Smith.

"This has been a tough few months," Franken begins Friday's letter, which was paid for by his political campaign.

The letter is framed as a thank-you note for those who have supported him.

Here's the whole thing. He discusses his future in a post script.

Al Franken's thank-you letter

This has been a tough few months. I can't tell you how hard it was to step away from serving in the United States Senate — the best job I've ever had.

And I can't tell you how much it's meant to me, to Franni, and to our family to hear from so many supporters wishing us well and telling us that you're still ready to fight for the progressive values we share.

As I said on the day I announced my resignation from the Senate, I might be giving up my seat in that chamber, but I'm not giving up my voice. I'm going to keep fighting for those values, too.

But, today, I just wanted to write to say thank you.

Thank you for taking a chance on me more than a decade ago when I stepped up to run for the Senate — and helping me to win that first race by just 312 votes.

Thank you for fighting alongside me every step of the way for the progressive values we share: values like justice, equality, integrity, and honesty.

Thank you for making it possible to practice a politics focused, as my hero Paul Wellstone put it, on improving people's lives.

I am so proud of the progress we've made together. From passing the Affordable Care Act and extending health insurance to tens of millions of families to pairing veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with service dogs that make their days a little easier. From defending net neutrality and fighting back against media consolidation to asking the tough questions in hearings and exposing the corruption and incompetence of the Trump administration.

And I know that there is a lot more progress to be made in the months and years ahead. We have to fight this administration and its far-right agenda. We have to take back power in this year's midterm elections (starting with re-electing Minnesota's two fine senators, Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar) so we can finally hold this President accountable. We have to stand up for our progressive values, stand up for middle-class families — and stand up for the truth.

I know that you are going to keep fighting to make that progress. And I want you to know that I'm going to be right there alongside you, every step of the way.

As hard as it is not to be there in the Senate right now, I still believe, as Paul Wellstone did, that the future belongs to those who are passionate and work hard. I'm still as passionate as ever about the values we share. I look forward to continuing the hard work we've done together to move our country forward.

And, most of all, I am deeply grateful for your friendship and your support.

Thank you,


P.S.: Over the last few weeks, I've heard from a lot of people who want to know what I'm doing next and how they can help. It's a good question, and one I'm not quite ready to answer yet. For the moment, I'm enjoying spending time with Franni, our healthy and brilliant kids, and our adorable grandkids — and feeling very lucky to have them in my life. But I do want to thank you for being there for me during this difficult time. And I hope that, like me, you'll continue to look for ways to stay involved during this critical election year.