From CNN: Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, a prominent 16-term liberal Democrat and arch-enemy of political conservatives nationwide, will announce Monday he does not intend to seek re-election in 2012, according to a statement from Frank’s office.
The Massachusetts Democrat is one of four openly gay members of Congress. The other three are Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) Baldwin is leaving her seat to pursue a run for U.S. Senate, but gay candidate Mark Pocan is seeking to replace her.
Frank, 71, was first elected in 1980 and serves as the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. When Democrats held control of the House during the 111th Congress, he led the way as a chairman of the committee for the passage of major financial reform legislation known as Dodd-Frank.
Reactions from across the political spectrum:
President Barack Obama: “This country has never had a Congressman like Barney Frank, and the House of Representatives will not be the same without him. For over 30 years, Barney has been a fierce advocate for the people of Massachusetts and Americans everywhere who needed a voice. He has worked tirelessly on behalf of families and businesses and helped make housing more affordable. He has stood up for the rights of LGBT Americans and fought to end discrimination against them. And it is only thanks to his leadership that we were able to pass the most sweeping financial reform in history designed to protect consumers and prevent the kind of excessive risk-taking that led to the financial crisis from ever happening again.”
Human Rights Campaign: “Barney Frank has exemplified true leadership over his more than 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. As the first openly gay Member of Congress, Barney defied stereotypes and kicked doors open for LGBT Americans. Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act would never have happened without his leadership.”
Freedom To Marry: “As a public servant, Barney Frank has been an inspiration and a giant in an age where we’ve had few, and losing him as a leader in Congress and in public debate will be a painful blow for the country. Barney’s excellence in shaping legislation and unparalleled voice in battling many of the wrong turns the country has taken have made extraordinary contributions to the history of our times.”