By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Surrounded by his family, friends and supporters, Sen. Al Franken vowed to continue fighting for Minnesotans despite his resignation.

The embattled lawmaker held a farewell event Thursday night in northeast Minneapolis.

Franken plans to resign next week after several sexual misconduct allegations against him surfaced last month.

His speech focused on thanking his family, his staff and voters for allowing him to achieve his position in the Senate.

But there was no mention of the controversy that surrounded him since last month. Instead, he’s looking to the future.

“Serving the people of Minnesota in the United States Senate has been the honor of my life, and I’m here tonight to say thank you,” Franken said.

He extended gratitude for nearly 30 minutes to those who helped him achieve an eight-year run as a U.S. Senator, most notably his wife, Franni.

Al Franken (credit: CBS)

“Whatever it is that we do next, we will do it together,” Franken said. “And while I can never thank her enough for her love and support, I am willing to spend the rest of my life trying.”

He also highlighted achievements, like helping pass the Affordable Care Act and the Farm Bill.

“All these years later, I am deeply proud of the work I’ve been able to do on Minnesotans’ behalf,” Franken said.

The former “Saturday Night Live” cast member has been more known in recent weeks for the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct. Leanne Tweeden says he forcible kissed on her while rehearsing a skit while on a USO tour in the Middle East.

Those claims ultimately led to his resignation, a move with which several Minnesotans disagree.

Public Policy Polling conducted a survey of 671 Minnesota voters. It found that 50 percent of them think Franken should not resign. Forty-two percent still believe he should step down.

Leaving amidst controversy is likely not the ending his supporters pictured, but Franken assured them he would continue to fight for economic justice and defend the truth.

“Here’s my promise to you: I may be leaving the Senate, but I’m not giving up my voice,” Franken said.

He also thanked fellow DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar, whom he called his greatest mentor.

Franken will resign on Tuesday. His replacement, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, will be sworn in the following day.

Jeff Wagner