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Heitkamp joins senators calling for Franken to step down

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 26, 2017. Tom Brenner / copyright 2017 The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., called for the resignation of Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., on Wednesday, Dec. 6, joining the morning surge of Democrats who began demanding Franken step down after reports of a seventh woman accusing him of inappropriate conduct.

"We must commit to zero tolerance," Heitkamp wrote on Twitter. "Which is where I believe we as a country and Congress should be — and that means Senator Franken should step down."

Heitkamp's statement was posted shortly after a wave of Democratic senators began calling for Franken to step down. Shortly before noon, there were 13 lawmakers asking Franken to resign, as well as Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

On Wednesday morning, Politico published claims from a former Democratic aide that Franken had tried to forcibly kiss her in 2006. It's the seventh account of inappropriate conduct that has been published in the past weeks since radio host Leeann Tweeden said Franken kissed and groped her without her consent.

"I've said before that for decades as a country, we have been far too tolerant and dismissive of past allegations," Heitkamp said in her Twitter statement. "In recent months, women have been courageously stepping out of the shadows to tell their stories of sexual harassment and abuse. That's a huge step. We need to stand by them and all women to empower them to come forward and speak out, prevent those actions, and impose serious consequences when they do happen."

Heitkamp's office did not immediately answer emailed questions about the timing of her call for Franken's resignation.

Sam Easter

Sam Easter is a City Government reporter for the Grand Forks Herald. You can reach him with story tips, comments and ideas at 701-330-3441.

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