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Barney Frank        

Former U.S. Congressman & Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee

Barney Frank is a former politician who served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1981 to 2013. A Democrat, Frank served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee from 2007 to 2011. Frank was known as a superb legislator and a pragmatic politician whose sharp intellect and sense of humor made him one of the most influential and colorful figures in Washington. He is considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States during his time in Congress.

After graduating from Harvard and Harvard Law, Frank began working as a political aide before winning election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1972. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980 with 52 percent of the vote and was re-elected every term thereafter by wide margins. In 1987, Frank became the first member of Congress to come out as gay voluntarily, and in 2012, he married his longtime partner, becoming the first congressman in a same-sex marriage while in office. Frank's autobiography, "A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage," was published in 2015.

As chair of the House Financial Services Committee from 2007 to 2011, Frank was instrumental in crafting a compromise bill to stem the tide of home mortgage foreclosures, as well as the subsequent $550 billion rescue plan. He worked to adopt a sweeping set of financial regulations aimed at preventing a recurrence of this crisis and was a key author of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the regulatory overhaul signed into law in July 2010.

While in Congress, Frank worked to adjust America's spending priorities to reduce the deficit and provide less funding for the military and more for important quality-of-life needs at home. In particular, he focused on providing aid to local communities and building and preserving affordable rental housing for low-income people. He has also been a leader in the fight against discrimination of various sorts. He championed the interests of the poor, the underprivileged, and the vulnerable.

Speech Topics


Barney Frank has been a staunch advocate of an American policy that fully supports Israel's right to remain a free, secure, Jewish democratic state. He has also made the point that criticism of the particular policies of the government in Israel at any one time is in no way inconsistent with that, and he has in fact been among the leaders of liberals who have articulated this position -- of full support for Israel's right to exist, with an independent perspective on Israeli policies. He has been a critic of the settlement policy, and a strong supporter of the Israeli domestic policies on the rights of women, religious freedom, the rights of LGBT people and other policies that sharply differentiate Israel from all of its neighbors.


Barney Frank has consistently been one of the strongest voices in Congress for reducing America's excessive military spending to allow deficit reduction to proceed in a socially responsible way. In the past two years, in the arguments he has been making about the wisdom of a reduced worldwide American military presence, he has been one of the leaders in this debate. He will be continuing these efforts as a private citizen.


As the nation's first Congressman to voluntarily come out as openly gay and the first to be in a same sex marriage while in office, Barney Frank has been at the forefront of the gay rights movement. Frank has been a central figure in every gay rights battle that has taken place in the history of the U.S. Congress, and was instrumental in several important victories, including the abolition of the anti-gay provision of U.S. Immigration Law; the abolition of the rule that denied LGBT people security clearance; the enactment of a fully-inclusive hate crimes bill for LGBT people; and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Either by himself or with his husband, James Ready, Frank illuminates the arc of the gay rights movement and shares what's ahead for LGBT issues.


As chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Frank was instrumental in crafting some of the most sweeping financial reform laws in history, including the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the regulatory overhaul signed into law in July 2010.

With his trademark skill at getting quickly to the heart of complex issues, Frank offers unique insight into the financial crisis, the current path we're on, and what we can expect going forward.


After sixteen terms in Congress, few people know the inner workings of Washington better than Barney Frank. Though known as an ardent Democrat, Frank often reached across the aisle, helping to pass bipartisan legislation. In a survey of Members of Congress, Frank had the unique distinction of being voted one of the most partisan and one of the most bipartisan members.

Hank Paulson, Jr. Secretary of the Treasury under the Bush Administration said, "When we're faced with a tough situation and a real need for immediate action, Barney approaches the discussion in a pragmatic way and doesn't let perfect be the enemy of the good. He is looking to get things done and make a difference. He focuses on areas of agreement and tries to build on those."

In this talk, Frank offers a truly inside perspective of how Washington works and how it can work better in the public interest and what Congress can do to truly get things done.


Barney Frank Defends Nancy Pelosi from Her Critics | The New Yorker
Isaac Chotiner interviews the retired representative Barney Frank about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the state of the Democratic Party.
Documentary Chronicles Barney Frank’s Unlikely Life
Barney Frank: Congress Has Closeted Gay Members ...
According to former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, Congress still has closeted gay member and that's okay with him, unless they vote against gay rights.

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