Smith gets U.S. Senate committee assignments

Minnesota DFL U.S. Sen. Tina Smith will serve on four Senate committees, her office said Tuesday.

They are Indian Affairs, Agriculture, Energy, and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

The assignments will allow her to focus on problems important to Minnesotans, said Smith, who was sworn into office last Wednesday.

“I’m eager to fight for the nurse in greater Minnesota who’s worried about cuts to the rural health budget and the public school teacher who wants to give students a world-class education; for the retirees in Duluth who are concerned about their pensions getting cut, the farmer in Willmar concerned about slumping commodity prices, the tribal leader who demands a response to the opioid crisis in Indian Country, and the local business looking to cut its monthly energy bill,” she said.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Smith to take fellow Democrat Al Franken’s place in the Senate.until a special election in November determines who will serve the remainder of the term.

Franken served on the Judiciary Committee and not the Agriculture Committee. Otherwise Smith’s committee assignments are the same.

Smith says she will run in the special election to serve through 2020. Republican State Sen. Karin Housley has announced she’s running too.

Franken stepped down last week after several women accused him of sexual misconduct.