Democrat Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenFranken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' Andrew Cuomo and the death of shame MORE has named his first full-time staffer for his office, presuming he will eventually be seated as the next Senator from Minnesota.

Franken tapped Alana Petersen, an outreach director for Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), as his Minnesota state director.

Petersen's announcement is significant far beyond most staff decisions for U.S. Senators, however.

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The public announcement marks the first step Franken has taken to officially prepare to assume office, moving beyond the campaign phase of his political organization. The Franken campaign had been wary of seeming move too quickly toward the Senate while their recount contest against Sen. Norm Coleman (R) has persisted in Minnesota courts.

Franken's decision to name Petersen comes at a critical time in Minnesota, which has had Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) as its only representative in the upper chamber since early January, and has had to shoulder two senators' constituent services at the same time.

"The truth could never be clearer that Al Franken has decided that 4,400 Minnesota voters are disposable," Minnesota GOP Chairman Ron Carey said. "Given his proven callous disregard for Minnesota voters, his new