Barney Frank To Step Down

The U.S. Representative and financial-overhaul lawmaker will not seek reelection in 2012.

Barney Frank

Massachusetts Democratic Representative Barney Frank ’61, IOP ’71, J.D. ’77, G ’68, known as one of the nation’s leading liberal voices and a key lawmaker in the most sweeping overhaul of banking and financial-industry regulations in decades, announced Monday that he will retire from Congress at the end of next year, reports the Boston Globe.

The state’s highest-profile congressman and one of the first openly gay elected officials, Frank announced his move at a 1 p.m. news conference in Newton, Massachusetts, signaling an end to more than three decades in Congress, according to the Wall Street Journal. Citing his redrawn district boundaries—which will add more conservative voters and drop the heavily Democratic city of New Bedford—and his desire to write as the main factors in his choice to step down, Frank, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, reversed a decision announced earlier in the year that he would seek re-election for a 17th term in Congress, reports the Atlantic.

Frank was a driving force behind last year’s Dodd-Frank financial overhaul that bears his name, and has spent much of this year defending the law against criticism from Republicans, reports Fox News.

When asked about the perks of retirement during the press conference, Frank said: “I don't have to pretend to be nice to people I don't like,” adding that he will continue to be an advocate of public policy, for instance, on gay-rights issues and debating the Defense of Marriage Act against opponents like former House Speaker and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich

Gingrich and Frank have argued publicly over the course of their careers, most recently when Gingrich suggested that Frank should be jailed for the policies the Massachusetts Democrat had supported, which Gingrich said had effectively triggered the housing crisis, reports MSNBC.

“I did not think I've lived a good enough life to be rewarded by Newt Gingrich being the Republican nominee. It still is unlikely, but I have hopes,” Frank said during the press conference, suggesting Gingrich would be soundly defeated if chosen as the Republican nominee. Frank also said he wants to pursue other projects once he leaves office, noting he has the “longest uncompleted Ph.D. thesis in Harvard history.”


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