Jewish U.S. Lawmaker Barney Frank Announces Retirement

Congressman represented his Massachusetts district since 1981; National Jewish Democratic Council says Frank ‘has been a leading voice for many Jewish communal concerns.’

Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts says he does not intend to seek re-election in 2012. Frank spoke Monday at a news conference in his hometown of Newton.

Frank said he originally intended to run for one more term, but that his decision was partially due to the fact that the state's new redistricting map will include many people he has never represented before.

Frank - AP - December 22. 2010

Frank said he has had a "busy and stressful" four years dealing with financial reform after the recession. He says he plans to write and stay involved in public policy decisions.

The 71-year-old Frank, and a lifelong liberal, won a House seat in 1980 was one of the first lawmakers to announce that he is gay.

President Barack Obama said in a statement that ‘this country has never had a Congressman like Barney Frank, and the House of Representatives will not be the same without him.” He added: “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.”

National Jewish Democratic Council President and CEO David A. Harris said in a statement that “for the last 30 years, Frank has been a leading voice for many Jewish communal concerns and a stalwart advocate for America's middle class on Capitol Hill. Through his fierce advocacy for many Democratic and social justice causes, Frank truly represented the Jewish value of tikkun olam -- repairing the world.”

According to Harris, “as we've experienced over the years, Frank has an unparalleled work ethic and a sense of humor to match. He leaves behind a strong legacy as one of America's pioneering Jewish legislators in addition to the many pieces of legislation that bear his name.