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Rep. Barney Frank to retire

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Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, the former chairman of the influential House Financial Services Committee, will not seek re-election next year.

Frank, one of the best known liberals in Congress, will hold a 1 p.m. news conference in Newton, Mass., to discuss his decision.


The Democrat chaired the financial services committee from 2007 until his party lost its House majority in the 2010 election.

Frank, first elected to Congress in 1980, is known as a principal architect of the country's biggest overhaul of the banking and financial-industry regulations since the Depression. The 2010 law was aimed at preventing another meltdown of the financial services industry. It also created a new agency to protect consumers from unfair lending practices.

Frank, 71, is known for his sharp intellect and intense, rapid-fire delivery during congressional debates. He also has gained attention as an openly gay member of the House; a 2009 biography by Stuart Weisberg is subtitled: The Story of America's Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman

Frank faced stiff opposition in 2010 from Republican Sean Bialet. Frank went on to win re-election to a 16th term by 10 percentage points. His suburban Boston district has been reliably Democratic, but it was recently redrawn and includes more conservative communities.

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