ST PAUL, MINNESOTA (REUTERS) - Minnesota's Democratic Lieutenant-Governor Tina Smith will be appointed the US senator to replace Al Franken, who resigned after being accused of sexual harassment by several women.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of Smith on Wednesday (Dec 13), who vowed to find her own voice in Franken's vacated seat.
She said: "I've spoken with Senator Franken, and I know he made the decision he made thinking about what was best for Minnesotans... I respect his work, but I will take on this role in my own way using my own judgment and experience.
"Senator Franken has been a real champion for this state..."
Smith became lieutenant-governor in January 2015. She previously worked as Dayton's chief of staff and held positions at General Mills and Planned Parenthood.
She will be the state's second female senator, joining fellow Democrat Amy Klobuchar.
Smith praised Franken's work as senator but made sure to highlight her no-tolerance policy for harassment.
"Sexual harassment is disrespectful to people and it can't be tolerated," she said
When asked if she is prepared to do fund-raising for the race to keep her seat in 2018, she appeared undaunted.
She said: "The conversation about campaigns and elections can wait for another day. But I will tell you that I shouldn't be underestimated and if I weren't confident I wouldn't be doing this."