Gary A. Franks, Congressman   Leave a comment

Gary A. Franks (born February 9, 1953) was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut for six years, from 1991 until 1997. He was the first and to date only African-American elected to Congress from Connecticut.

Early life

Franks was born in Waterbury, Connecticut. He received his B.A. from Yale University in 1975. He served as a member of the Waterbury, Connecticut board of aldermen from 1986 to 1990. Franks was an unsuccessful candidate for comptroller of Connecticut in 1986. He was elected as a Republican to the One Hundred Second and to the two succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1991 – January 3, 1997). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the 105th Congress in 1996 and an unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate in 1998.


Franks was the first black Republican to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives since Oscar Stanton De Priest won his last term on the South Side of Chicago in 1932. The other African-American Republican member of the U.S. House in the 1990s was J. C. Watts from Oklahoma. In his 1990 election Franks defeated former 6th District congressman Toby Moffett whom Franks portrayed as too liberal to represent the conservative[citation needed] 5th District. Franks won in a three-way election in 1992 when the Democrats split between endorsed candidate Judge James Lawlor, a moderate from Waterbury, and A Connecticut Party candidate Lynn Taborsak, a labor-liberal candidate from Danbury. James H. Maloney, then the Democratic state senator from Danbury, challenged Franks in 1994 and received 46% of the vote.

Maloney ran again in 1996 and defeated Franks, benefitting from the coattails of President Bill Clinton‘s strong showing in Connecticut.

Franks became the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 1998, challenging incumbent Senator Chris Dodd in 1998. Dodd was re-elected, with Franks receiving 32 percent of the vote.

  Political views

Franks ran as a candidate in favor of Welfare Reform, an opponent of Affirmative Action and a supporter of the nomination of Clarance Thomas to the Supreme Court. He also opposed increased taxation, favored a reduced capital gains tax and supported an admendment to ban desecration of the United States flag.

Franks voted against the 1990 Civil Rights Act. One of his reasonings was that enforced quotas would encourage companies to move out of Connecticut to states that were more white, since in Connecticut their ability to recruit out of state white workers would be balanced against a large in-state African American population in a way that would not occur in states with fewer African Americans.

After his re-election Franks was ejected from the stategy sessions of the Congressional Black Caucus on the claim he was a Republican mole. He was later barred from the beginning half-hour long lunch of the Caucus.

Franks was one of the key figures in writing the 1995 Welfare Reform Act.

  Personal Life

Franks married Donna Williams in 1990. They had a daughter in 1991 and a son in 1994.


Posted February 19, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

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