Barney Frank chooses not to run for re-election

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA-4) announced on Nov. 28 that at the conclusion of his current term, he will be retiring. In a statement on his website, he said that he came to this decision because of the redistricting recently done in his state, which removes from his district “virtually the entire fishing industry of Southeastern Massachusetts,” a group he has represented up until this point. He also expressed frustration with the current political process and climate, another reason for his decision to retire.

“I am announcing today my retirement from elected office after 40 years but not my retirement from public policy advocacy,” Frank wrote. “[I]n some ways I believe I may have more impact speaking, writing and in other ways advocating for the changes that I think are necessary than trying to bring them about inside our constricting political process.”

Before running for national office, Frank was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980, and has been the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee from 2007 until Republicans took the majority in 2011. Frank is currently the committee’s Ranking Member. He has consistently been a strong advocate of progressive economic reform, most recently sponsoring the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

Frank publicly came out as a homosexual in 1987, making him the first openly gay member of Congress. Ever since then, he has been recognized as one of the United States’ strongest voices for LGBT rights.

Frank lives in Newton, Mass. with his partner, Jim Ready.