By Erin Connolly — 11/28/11
Congressman Barney Frank is quitting. After 30 years, he will no longer represent the Massachusetts 4th District 4. Today at Newton City Hall Frank announced his decision not to run for re-election.
Frank said his decision came after the Massachusetts legislature passed the new congressional redistricting bill. The bill draws new lines establishing which cities belong to which district. Congressman Frank said he does not want to have to attract new voters nor fundraise. He also admitted he disagrees with President Obama on some issues.
Later in the evening, Congressman Frank appeared for a more intimate talk at Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline. There he gave a speech that focused on military spending cuts. “Reduce military spending to the level of American military needs,” Congressman Frank said. “Don’t fight terror with nuclear submarines.”
Congressman Frank said if military spending is not reduced, medicare could be targeted next. One attendee accused him of never reading the health care bill. Frank denied the claim, saying he once held a town hall meeting about the measure.
Some Republicans are skeptical of Frank’s retirement timing and have accused him of losing faith in his party.
In recent years, Congressman Frank has served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee where he worked with Democrats and Republicans to regulate large businesses like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He also worked with Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd on the Dodd-Frank Wall-Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to create jobs, protect consumers and prevent financial crisis. Frank was also very involved with fisheries and ocean legislation since his district at that time included New Bedford, MA and other coastal communities.
Frank has also said that his decision to leave office was influenced once those areas were removed from his district.
In 1987, Frank became the first openly gay U.S. congressman. He had been elected to Father Robert Drinan’s seat. Drinan had dropped out of politics after the Pope had ordered him to do so. He is 72 years old and for the rest of his time in office, Congressman Frank will work on a financial regulation bill. He is one of fifteen Democrats who will not run for reelection.