Sen. Tina Smith talks about her whirlwind last year and finding common ground in politics

- It has been a busy year for newly-elected Sen. Tina Smith.

She was appointed to replace Al Franken and then, only months later, fought to keep her job in the election.

Now, she is preparing to return to Washington knowing many of her constituents are tired of the division.

“People are tired of the politics of blame and the political games and just the division,” Smith told Fox 9 in an interview Saturday.

Only one day after his passing, she says she is looking to George H.W. Bush and his bipartisan legacy for inspiration.

“It’s just a reminder to me, this sort of us versus them politics, we have to find a way to rise above it,” she said. “President Clinton and President Bush worked together to help people recover from Hurricane Katrina and from other natural disasters and we need to use that as a model.”

As a member of the agriculture committee, Smith highlights the farm bill as one of her bipartisan successes. After months of impasse, the House and Senate appear to have a deal and could put the bill up for a vote this week.

“It includes safety net for Minnesota farmers, which they need so badly right now, and it also includes provisions that I wrote to expand rural broadband and help beginning farmers, veteran farmers,” she said.

As a migrant caravan attempts entry at the U.S.-Mexico border, Smith says immigration reform must be addressed.

“We need bi-partisan, comprehensive, immigration reform so desperately in this country,” Smith said.

While she doesn’t agree with President Donald Trump on a border wall, she does hope he will be an ally in her attempts to lower prescription drug prices.

“President Trump released a drug pricing bill that includes some of the provisions that I’ve been advocating for so I think there’s some potential for common ground there,” Smith added.

Smith will be sworn into office Jan. 3 and will complete the final two years of Franken’s term.

“This is an honor I never anticipated and my life hit a fork just about a year ago,” she said. “I feel so grateful that I can do this work.”

 

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