Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank will announce later today that he will not seek re-election in 2012, it is expected.
Frank is a staunch and unabashed liberal voice in the house, and has garnered prominence on a national level due to his outspoke and often hilarious comments on hot button issues like gay rights and universal healthcare. During the heated town hall meetings of 2008 surrounding the healthcare issue, Frank- who is Jewish- famously quipped to one angry attendee:
“When you ask me that question I am gonna revert to my ethnic heritage and answer your question with a question: On what planet do you spend most of your time? […] As you stand there with a picture of the President defaced to look like Hitler, and compare the effort to increase health care to the Nazis, my answer to you is, as I said before, it is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated. Ma’am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table: I have no interest in doing it.”
Earlier this year, Frank- who was elected to Congress first in 1980- declared that he would seek re-election in the 2012 election, so the decision not to run was somewhat of a surprise to constituents. A press conference is scheduled at 1PM in Newton, Massachusetts, at which time Rep. Frank is expected to discuss the decision not to run for 17th term in 2012 in greater detail.