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Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, gerrymandered into a more conservative Congressional district, will not seek re-election.
“I do not choose to run for Congress in 2012,” Frank said Monday.
Both outspoken and articulate, Frank is one of the strongest liberal voices in the House. He served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee from 2007-2011 and remained as ranking member after the Republicans recaptured control. He championed financial reform and was a key player in the latest banking revamping bill.
The Democrat, elected in 1980, was the most openly-gay member of the House of Representatives. He came out in 1987.
Many news media outlets incorrectly claimed Monday that Frank was the first member of Congress to emerge from the gay closet. In fact, another Massachusetts representative, Demo0crat Gerry Studds, revealed his homosexuality on the House floor in 1983 when he admitted an affair with a 17-year-old Congressional page.
Frank became embroiled in a scandal as well when a male prostitute he hired for sex was caught running a gay prostitution ring out of the Congressman’s Capitol Hill townhouse. The House formally reprimanded Frank for his vole in the scandal but an effort by Republican Congressman Larry Craig oust Frank from Congress failed. Craig, a closet gay, would later face criminal charges after he was caught soliciting sex in an airport men’s room.
(Updated with additional information)