Too frequently, it feels as if nothing ever gets done in Washington, D.C.
We hear about what our senators and congressmen want to do, but the results frequently appear limited.
However, when things were getting done in the last two years, Minnesota's senators were helping lead the pack. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, both Democrats, were ranked among the top 10 most-productive senators, based on the number of bills passed and signed with their names attached as a sponsor or co-sponsor, according to legislative data compiled by GovTrack as the last term neared its end.
Klobuchar's 27 successful bills earned her the top spot among the nation's 100 senators. Franken followed at No. 6 with 22 bills signed by President Obama.
Given the narrow Republican control of the Senate and an unpredictable new Republican president, it's a safe bet that Klobuchar and Franken will face new challenges in the coming year, but their ability to navigate legislative waters as members of the minority party is proven.
That ability is seen even though they were not among the most-bipartisan senators last year. Klobuchar ranked No. 16 for a willingness to sign on to bills introduced by a member of the opposite party, and Franken sat squarely in the middle at No. 51
Still, Minnesotans should be proud to have examples of productivity in the Senate. Hopefully, they will be encouraged to engage in more bipartisan efforts and will prompt others to break down barriers, rather than become bogged down in partisan rhetoric.
Once again, Minnesotans have the chance to be role models for the nation. All that's left is discovering whether others will follow suit.