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Iowa Democratic Senate candidate Mike Franken says he ‘fixed’ his ‘adopted special needs girl’

Retired Navy Vice Admiral Mike Franken, the Democratic candidate challenging incumbent Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in November, discussed moving his adopted “special needs girl” around the world and “fixed her up” in a video shared with Fox News Digital.

The video shows Franken at a campain meet and greet in Emmetsburg, Iowa, Aug. 6, where he briefly discussed his family life.

“Wife, two kids,” Franken says in the video. “Adopted special needs girl, drug her around the world, fixed her up. [She’s] now a quasi-working adult. That’s what we want in life.”

It’s unclear what Franken meant by saying he “fixed” his adopted daughter. His campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.  


Franken served in the Navy from 1978 until his retirement in 2017, achieving the rank of vice admiral. According to his biography, his family moved all over the globe during his career, and struggled at times to find care for his child.

“As the father of a child with disabilities, he has seen how inconsistent care can be in years where he was transferred 17 different times,” Franken’s campaign website says. “She would have great support in one community and the next there would be no support.”

Franken often mentions his daughter in campaign materials and interviews when discussing education issues or calling for health care reform — which he says should copy the military’s health care system for all Americans.

“I think we oughta have the type of healthcare that I had in 40 years in the military. So did my family,” Franken told Iowa PBS in June. “That permitted us to live this full and really committed life. Preventive, dental, sight. Even for a special needs daughter. However it mutates into use the various words, the Medicare for all, the single payer, universal, et cetera. However it may become, that’s what every American deserves. We will be a more efficient and a healthier population if we take a clue from the U.S Military and just copy the type of healthcare they provide.”

Franken won the Democratic nomination for Senate in June, beating Abby Finkenauer, who was seen as the establishment Democratic choice to take on Grassley. 

Grassley and Franken have already sparred, with the 88-year-old Republican incumbent’s team saying his opponent is out of touch with Iowans and Franken saying the oldest GOP senator should be replaced. 

Several statements from Franken have triggered GOP attacks, including one campaign stop where Franken said he did not serve in the military for someone who flew a “f— Biden” sign.

In an April interview with the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, Franken said that he supported revoking the tax exempt status of churches that hold certain positions on homosexual marriage. Franken said he had been to a church where the pastor said “no one who is gay can possibly be a Christian,” and that believed no homosexual person should run or serve as president of the U.S.

“This is a belief system in America,” Franken said. “If a church has those perspectives and it’s part of their acknowledged perspectives… I would take away their tax exemptions and I would use that as a club to ensure that religious understanding, tolerance, etc., is based on basic human rights and not a distortion of the literature of your faith,” Franken said.

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