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Barney Frank

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About

U.S. Congressman (1981-2013)

Chairman, House Financial Services Committee (2007-2011)

Barney Frank served as a US Congressman from 1981-2013 and Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee from 2007-2011. While in Congress, Frank worked to adjust America’s spending priorities to reduce the deficit by providing less funding for the military, thereby protecting funding for important quality-of-life needs at home. In particular, he focused on providing aid to local communities and to building and preserving affordable rental housing for low-income people. He was also a leader in the fight against discrimination of various sorts. He championed the interests of the poor, the underprivileged, and the vulnerable, and he won reelection 16 times by double-digit margins.

As Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Frank was instrumental in crafting the short-term $700 billion rescue plan in response to the mortgage crisis, and he then worked for the adoption of a sweeping set of financial regulations aimed at preventing a recurrence. He was co-author of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the regulatory overhaul signed into law in July 2010. He also led passage of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act, a measure that drew praise from editorial boards and consumer advocates.

In 1987 he became the first Member of Congress to voluntarily acknowledge that he is gay, and in 2012 became the first Member of Congress to marry his same-sex partner, James Ready.

In 2014 a documentary titled Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank was released. In the film, Frank gives a rare and intimate peek into the life of Barney Frank as a quick-witted, cantankerous, and first openly gay Congressman in the United States. On the verge of his retirement, Frank reflects on his 40 years in office and the role his own homosexuality played in his campaigns for social justice. An unvarnished example of when the personal meets the political, with incredible “bare all” access, this documentary reveals Frank as one of the most sharp-tongued, entertaining, and lionhearted politicians of our time.

In addition, he has written two books: Speaking Frankly, in 1992, a critique of some aspects of the Democrats approach to public policy; and a political memoir published in 2015 titled Frank: From the Great Society to Same Sex Marriage. He has taught at Harvard, Boston University, the University of Massachusetts Boston, and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

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Thank you for participating in our Combined Presidential Symposium-Miller's Court this year and for so powerfully articulating aspects of government that are capturing our individual attention these days. I was also moved by your candid discussion of your own personal experience being the first openly gay member of Congress.I am still hearing from audience members about how thought-provoking and informative they found the session to be. I deeply appreciate your willingness to be part of our intellectual feast, and to share your expertise and experience in such a personal and accessible way.

- University of Rochester

Thank you for participating in our Combined Presidential Symposium-Miller's Court this year and for so powerfully articulating aspects of government that are capturing our individual attention these days. I was also moved by your candid discussion of your own personal experience being the first openly gay member of Congress.I am still hearing from audience members about how thought-provoking and informative they found the session to be. I deeply appreciate your willingness to be part of our intellectual feast, and to share your expertise and experience in such a personal and accessible way.

- University of Rochester

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Barney Frank

Books

Book front cover

Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage

Book front cover

Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage

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