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Barney Frank        

U.S. Congressman (1981-2012); Chairman, House Financial Services Committee (2007-2011)

First elected to Congress in 1980, Barney Frank is known as a superb legislator and a pragmatic politician whose sharp intellect and sense of humor has made him one of the most influential and colorful figures in Washington.

While in Congress, Frank worked to adjust America's spending priorities to reduce the deficit, 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 to 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, winning re-election 12 times by wide margins.

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. He also led the passage of the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act, a measure that drew praise from editorial boards and consumer advocates.

In 1987, Frank became the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as openly gay, and in 2012 he married his longtime partner, becoming the nation's first congressman in a same-sex marriage while in office.

In May 2014, the American Humanist Association awarded Frank the Humanist of the Year.

After sixteen terms in Congress, Frank's legacy as a champion of civil rights and financial reform, as well as his ability to simplify any issue at hand in a clever and witty way, will be sorely missed. According to the Wall Street Journal: "Mr. Frank's combative liberalism and quick wit make him a standout in a Capitol filled with politicians dependent on talking points and polls, a trait alluded to by Mr. Obama who said in a written statement that, "The House of Representatives will not be the same without him."

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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