Barney Frank, Partisan Democrat

TUE, MAR 24, 2015 (1:08:36)

How did a disheveled, intellectually combative gay Jew with a thick accent become one of the most effective (and funniest) politicians of our time?

Growing up in Bayonne, New Jersey, the fourteen-year-old Barney Frank made two vital discoveries about himself: he was attracted to government, and to men. He resolved to make a career out of the first attraction and to keep the second a secret. Now, fifty years later, his sexual orientation is widely accepted, while his belief in government is embattled.

Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage is one man’s account of the country’s transformation—and the tale of a truly momentous career. Many Americans recall Frank’s lacerating wit, whether it was directed at the Clinton impeachment (“What did the president touch, and when did he touch it?”) or the pro-life movement (some people believe “life begins at conception and ends at birth”). But the contours of his private and public lives are less well-known. For more than four decades, he was at the center of the struggle for personal freedom and economic fairness. From the battle over AIDS funding in the 1980s to the debates over “big government” during the Clinton years to the 2008 financial crisis, the congressman from Massachusetts played a key role. In 2010, he coauthored the most far-reaching and controversial Wall Street reform bill since the era of the Great Depression, and helped bring about the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell."

+ BIO: Barney Frank

Barney Frank is the United States House Representative for Massachusetts's 4th congressional district since 1981 and a member of the Democratic Party.

In 1982 he won his first full term and has been re-elected ever since by wide margins. In 1987 he became the second openly gay member of the House of Representatives, and has become one of the most prominent openly gay politicians in the United States. In 2007 Frank became the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee when the Democratic Party won a majority in the House of Representatives. The committee oversees the housing and banking industries.

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