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Kyrsten Sinema
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 9th district

Incumbent

Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byConstituency established
Member of the Arizona Senate
from the 15th district
In office
January 10, 2011 – January 3, 2012
Preceded byKen Cheuvront
Succeeded byDavid Lujan
Member of the Arizona House of Representatives
from the 15th district
In office
January 10, 2005 – January 10, 2011
Preceded byWally Straughn
Ken Clark
Succeeded byLela Alston
Katie Hobbs
Personal details
Born(1976-07-12) July 12, 1976 (age 41)
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic(2004–present)
Other political
affiliations
Independent(before 2004)
EducationBrigham Young University(BA)
Arizona State University(MSW, JD, PhD)
WebsiteHouse website

Kyrsten Lea Sinema (; born July 12, 1976)[1] is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Arizona's 9th congressional district, first elected in 2012. A member of the Democratic Party, she served in both chambers of the State Legislature, being elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2004 and the Arizona Senate in 2010.

Sinema began her political career as a Green Party activist and liberal state lawmaker.[2] After her election to the House of Representatives, she shifted toward the political center, joining the conservative Blue Dog Coalition and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and amassing a moderate-Democratic voting record.[3]

Sinema has worked for the adoption of the DREAM Act and has campaigned against Propositions 107 and 102, two voter referendums to ban the recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions in Arizona. She was the first openly bisexual person elected to the U.S. Congress.

Sinema is running in the United States Senate election in Arizona in 2018 to replace Jeff Flake, who will retire at the end of his term.[4] If elected, she would be the first openly bisexual person elected to the U.S. Senate and the second openly LGBT person ever to serve in the Senate, after Tammy Baldwin.[5][6]

Early life, education, early career[edit]

Sinema was born in Tucson, Arizona, in 1976. Her parents divorced when she was a child. When her stepfather lost his job, the family lived for three years in an abandoned gas station in Florida with no running water or electricity.[7] Sinema was raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[8]

Sinema graduated as high school valedictorian at age 16 and went on to earn her B.A. from Brigham Young University in 1995 at age 18.[7] She left the Mormon church after graduating from BYU.[8] Sinema received her Master of Social Work from Arizona State University in 1999. In 2004, she earned a J.D. from Arizona State University College of Law. In 2012, she earned a Ph.D. in Justice Studies, also from Arizona State.[7][9]

Sinema was a social worker from 1995 to 2002. In 2000, she worked on Ralph Nader's presidential campaign.[10] She also practiced law in the Washington Elementary School District.[11] She served as an adjunct Business Law Professor at Arizona Summit Law School, formerly known as Phoenix School of Law. Sinema became a criminal defense lawyer in 2005.[7][11] She has also been an adjunct instructor in the Arizona State University School of Social Work since 2003.[12]

Arizona State Legislature[edit]

Elections[edit]

Sinema first ran for the Arizona House of Representatives in 2002, as an independent affiliated with the Arizona Green Party.[13] She finished in last place in a five-candidate field, receiving 8% of the vote.[14]

In 2004, Sinema won the Democratic primary for Arizona's 15th district, with 37% of the vote. David Lujan also won election with 34% (there are two seats in each district).[15] Sinema was subsequently reelected three times with over 30% of the vote.[16][17][18] In 2009 and 2010, Sinema was an assistant Minority Leader for the Democratic Caucus of the Arizona House of Representatives.[19]

In 2010, Sinema was elected to the Arizona Senate, defeating Republican Bob Thomas, 63% to 37%.[20]

Tenure[edit]

In 2006, Sinema sponsored a bill urging the adoption of the DREAM Act.[21] Also in 2006 she co-chaired Arizona Together, the statewide campaign that defeated Proposition 107, which would have banned the recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions in Arizona.[22] Speaking to a magazine in 2006, Sinema was asked about "new feminism", and responded, "'These women who act like staying at home, leeching off their husbands or boyfriends, and just cashing the checks is some sort of feminism because they're choosing to live that life. That's bullshit. I mean, what the fuck are we really talking about here?'"[23][24][25] After facing criticism, Sinema apologized and said the interview format was intended to be a "light-hearted spoof". “I was raised by a stay-at-home mom,’’ she said. “So, she did a pretty good job with me.’’[26]

In 2008, Sinema led the campaign against Proposition 102, another referendum that would have banned the recognition of same-sex marriage in Arizona. Proposition 102 was approved with 56% of the vote in the general election on November 4, 2008. Sinema chaired a coalition called Protect Arizona's Freedom, which defeated Ward Connerly's goal to place an initiative on the state ballot that would eliminate equal opportunity programs.[27]

In 2010, she sponsored a bill to give in-state tuition to veterans; it was held in committee and did not receive a vote.[28]

In 2010, Sinema was named one of Time magazine's "40 Under 40".[29] The Center for Inquiry presented Sinema its Award for the Advancement of Science and Reason in Public Policy in 2011.[30]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2012[edit]

Main article: United States House of Representatives elections in Arizona, 2012 § District 9

In June 2011, Sinema said she was considering running for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. She lived in the same Phoenix neighborhood as incumbent Democratic congressman Ed Pastor, but was adamant that she would not challenge another Democrat in a primary.[31] On January 3, 2012, Sinema announced her bid for Congress, in the 9th congressional district.[32] The district had previously been the 5th, represented by freshman Republican David Schweikert; it contains 60 percent of the old 5th's territory.[33] Schweikert had been drawn into the 6th District—the old 3rd District—and sought reelection there.

Although Sinema was not required to resign her State Senate seat under Arizona's resign-to-run laws (since she was in the final year of her term), she did so on the same day that she announced her candidacy. On August 28, 2012, Sinema won the three-way Democratic primary with nearly 42% of the vote. Her opponents, state Senator David Schapira and former Arizona Democratic Party chairman Andrei Cherny, a former speechwriter in the Clinton administration, each finished with less than 30% of the vote.[7][34][35]

In the general election Sinema ran against Republican nominee Vernon Parker, the former mayor of Paradise Valley.[7] Sinema was endorsed by the Arizona Republic.[7] The campaign was described as a "nasty",[36] "bitterly fought race that featured millions of dollars in attack ads".[37] Parker ran campaign ads that accused Sinema of being an "anti-American hippie" who practiced "Pagan rituals".[38] The Republican-aligned outside group American Future Fund spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on attack ads against Sinema.[39] When Sinema's religious views were raised as an issue, her campaign stated that she simply believes in a secular approach to government.[40]

The November 6 election was initially too close to call, because Arizona election authorities failed to count more than 25% of the votes on election day.[41] Sinema held a narrow lead over Parker, while provisional and absentee ballots were still being counted.[42][43] On November 12, when it was apparent that Sinema's lead was too large for Parker to overcome, the Associated Press called the race for Sinema.[44] Once all ballots were counted, Sinema won by 4.1 percentage points, over 10,000 votes. Libertarian Powell Gammill finished third with 6.64% of the votes.[45] When she took office on January 3, 2013, she became only the second Anglo Democrat to represent the Valley of the Sun in over three decades. The first, Harry Mitchell, occupied the seat Sinema now holds from 2007 to 2011.

2014[edit]

Main article: United States House of Representatives elections in Arizona, 2014 § District 9

Sinema ran for reelection in 2014, and was unopposed in the Democratic primary, which took place on August 26, 2014. She faced Republican Wendy Rogers in the general election.[46][47]

According to Roll Call, Sinema billed herself as bipartisan. This was seen as a response to her district's voting pattern. It was drawn as a "fair-fight" district, and voted for President Barack Obama by just 4 points in 2012.[10] In September 2014, she was endorsed for reelection by the United States Chamber of Commerce, becoming one of five Democrats to be endorsed by the Chamber in the 2014 congressional election cycle.[48] She was reelected with 54 percent of the vote.

2016[edit]

Main article: United States House of Representatives elections in Arizona, 2016 § District 9

Unopposed in her primary, Sinema won the general election by almost 22% of the vote.

2018[edit]

Main article: United States Senate election in Arizona, 2018

On September 28, 2017, Sinema officially announced her candidacy for the Class I United States Senate seat held by Republican incumbent Jeff Flake. As of March 2018, five other candidates have declared for the Democratic primary.[49][50][51]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Political positions[edit]

According to National Journal's 2013 Vote Ratings, Sinema's votes place her near the center of their liberal-conservative scale.[54] According to the Bipartisan Index created by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy, Sinema was the 4th most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the 114th United States Congress, and the most bipartisan Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives.[55]

In 2015 and 2016, she did not vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House.[56] In 2015, she voted 73% with the majority of her own party.[57] In 2017, she voted in line with President Donald Trump's position approximately half the time.[58]

Sinema is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition[59] and the Problem Solvers Caucus.[10]

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau[edit]

Sinema voted to change the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's leadership from a single director to a bipartisan commission.[60][61]

Privacy[edit]

In June 2013, Sinema became one of 29 original cosponsors of the bipartisan LIBERT-E (Limiting Internet and Blanket Electronic Review of Telecommunications and Email) Act, along with Rep. Justin Amash. The legislation would limit the National Security Agency (NSA) to only collecting electronic information from subjects of an investigation.[62]

In July 2013, Sinema joined a bipartisan majority and voted against an amendment to a defense appropriations bill (offered by Amash) to prohibit the NSA from monitoring and recording details of U.S. citizens' telecommunications without a warrant.[63][dead link]

Health care[edit]

Sinema voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act.[64] She has called for reforms to the law.[65] In a 2012 congressional campaign debate, she said the health care law wasn't perfect, and that in Congress she would work to amend the law to make it work effectively.[66]

Sinema voted to delay the initiation of fines on those who did not purchase insurance in 2014. She also voted to repeal the Medical Device Tax and for the Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013.[67][68][69]

Speaking about healthcare policy, Sinema said, "I used to say that I wanted universal health-care coverage in Arizona, which went over like a ton of bricks. Turns out, Arizonans hear the word 'universal' and think 'socialism'—or 'pinko commie.' But when I say that I want all Arizonans to have access to affordable, quality health care, Arizonans agree wholeheartedly. Same basic idea, different language."[70]

Foreign policy[edit]

After the September 11 attacks on the United States, Sinema was involved in organizing a Phoenix-area group called the Arizona Alliance for Peaceful Justice (AAPJ). According to The Hill, "The group’s mission statement at the time called military action 'an inappropriate response to terrorism' and advocated for using the legal system — not violence — to bring Osama bin Laden and others to justice." Sinema wrote: "As one of the core organizers against the war from day one (September 12, 2011), I have always and will always continue to oppose war in all its forms."[71]

Sinema has advocated against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and has helped form several groups that oppose the U.S.-Israel alliance. The AAPJ, which Sinema co-founded, has denounced Israel’s “disproportionate” use of “violence and oppression,” decried U.S. military aid to Israel, and protested the expansion of Israeli settlements “into Palestinian lands.” Sinema's activism and views regarding Israel have been criticized by Republicans and Democrats, including Jay Goodlik, a former Special Assistant to Bill Clinton.[71][72][73][74] Sinema is a former spokesperson for Women in Black, an anti-war group that was founded in part to support Palestinians during the Intifada.[72][75] She supports reducing defense spending.[76]

Economics[edit]

Sinema has voted for federal stimulus spending.[76] She has said: "Raising taxes is more economically sound than cutting vital social services."[77]

In 2015, however, Sinema was one of just seven House Democrats to vote in favor of a Republican-backed bill to repeal the estate tax, which affects about 0.2% of deaths in the U.S. each year (estates of $5.43 million or more for individuals, or $10.86 million or more for couples).[78]

In 2016, with Republican congressman John Katko of New York, Sinema cosponsored the Working Parents Flexibility Act (H.R. 4699). This legislation would establish a tax-free "parental savings account" in which employers and parents could invest savings tax-free, with unused funds eligible to be "rolled into qualifying retirement, college savings or ABLE accounts for people with disabilities without tax penalties."[79]

Abortion[edit]

Sinema supports abortion rights. She has been endorsed by EMILY's List.[76]

Guns[edit]

Sinema favors gun control measures such as requiring background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows, and requiring a license for gun possession.[80]

Telecommunications[edit]

In 2016, Sinema was one of just five House Democrats to vote for a Republican-backed bill barring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from regulating broadband rates. Her vote broke from her party; other Democrats were strongly opposed to the measure, and President Obama said he would veto it if it passed.[81]

Immigration[edit]

Sinema opposed Arizona SB 1070. She has argued that mass deportation of illegal immigrants is not an option and supported the DREAM Act. Her 2012 campaign website stated that "we need to create a tough but fair path to citizenship for undocumented workers that requires them to get right with the law by paying back taxes, paying a fine and learning English as a condition of gaining citizenship."[82]

Sinema was one of 24 House Democrats to vote in favor of Kate's Law,[83] a bill that would expand maximum sentences for foreigners who attempt to reenter the country, legally or illegally, after having been deported, denied entry or removed, and for foreign felons who attempt to reenter the country.[84]

Sinema voted for the SAFE Act, which expanded the refugee screening process to require signatures from the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Director of National Intelligence for each refugee entering the country.[85][86]

Personal life[edit]

On November 17, 2013, Sinema completed an Ironman Triathlon in a little more than 15 hours. Sinema was the second active member of Congress—behind Senator Jeff Merkley—to finish a long distance triathlon, and the first to complete an Ironman-branded race.[87] On December 25, 2013, Sinema summited Mount Kilimanjaro.[88]

Sinema is now the only openly non-theist or atheist member of Congress,[89][90] although she herself has rejected such labels.[40] She has credited the government, her church, her teachers, and her family for helping her climb out of poverty.[91]

In January 2018, a New York man was arrested and charged with stalking Sinema.[92][93]

Electoral history[edit]

2002[edit]

Arizona's 15th House of Representatives District election, 2002
PartyCandidateVotes%±
DemocraticKen Clark10,87330.24%
DemocraticWally Straughn8,10922.55%
RepublicanMilton Wheat7,16319.92%
RepublicanWilliam Wheat6,86819.10%
IndependentKyrsten Sinema2,9458.19%
Turnout35,958

2004[edit]

Arizona's 15th House of Representatives District Democratic Primary election, 2004
PartyCandidateVotes%±
DemocraticKyrsten Sinema3,47536.94%
DemocraticDavid Lujan3,20534.07%
DemocraticWally Straughn (incumbent)2,72628.98%
Turnout9,406
Arizona's 15th House of Representatives District election, 2004
PartyCandidateVotes%±
DemocraticDavid Lujan19,99931.12
DemocraticKyrsten Sinema19,40230.19
RepublicanOksana Komarnyckyj12,29919.14
RepublicanTara Roesler12,56519.55
Turnout64,265

2006[edit]

Arizona's 15th House of Representatives District Democratic Primary election, 2006
PartyCandidateVotes%±
DemocraticKyrsten Sinema (incumbent)3,59042.31%
DemocraticDavid Lujan (incumbent)3,57142.09%
DemocraticRobert Young1,32315.59%
Turnout8,484
Arizona's 15th House of Representatives District election, 2006
PartyCandidateVotes%±
DemocraticDavid Lujan (incumbent)15,95133.12%
DemocraticKyrsten Sinema (incumbent)15,72332.64%
RepublicanRobert Gear7,68915.96%
RepublicanWilliam Wheat7,30515.17%
LibertarianRichard Buck1,4993.11%
Turnout48,167

2008[edit]

Arizona's 15th House of Representatives District election, 2008
PartyCandidateVotes%±
DemocraticDavid Lujan (incumbent)23,78140.06%
DemocraticKyrsten Sinema (incumbent)22,72138.28%
RepublicanEd Hedges12,86021.66%
Turnout59,362

2010[edit]

2012[edit]

Arizona's 9th congressional district election, 2012
PartyCandidateVotes%±
DemocraticKyrsten Sinema15,53640.78%
DemocraticDavid Schapira11,41929.97%
DemocraticAndrei Cherny11,14629.25%
Turnout38,101

2014[edit]

2016[edit]

PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticKyrsten Sinema (Incumbent)169,05560.94
RepublicanDave Giles108,35039.06
Total votes277,405100
Democratichold

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^"Phoenix Arizona Election Questionnaire for Congress, KYRSTEN SINEMA". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  2. ^Collins, Eliza (November 28, 2017). "Democrat Kyrsten Sinema says Trump is 'not a thing' in race to replace Sen. Jeff Flake". USA Today. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  3. ^"Democrats Just Got a Top-Tier Senate Candidate in Arizona". Daily Beast. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  4. ^Pitzulo, Carrie (2017-09-11). "Democratic Rep. Sinema launches Arizona senate bid". Politico. Retrieved 2017-10-01. 
  5. ^Roig-Franzia, Manuel (January 2, 2013). "Kyrsten Sinema: A success story like nobody else's". The Washington Post. Phoenix, Arizona. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  6. ^O'Dowd, Peter (January 1, 2013). "Sinema, First Openly Bisexual Member Of Congress, Represents 'Changing Arizona'". NPR. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  7. ^ abcdefgSkelton, Alissa (November 1, 2012). "Arizona, 9th House District: Kyrsten Sinema". National Journal. Archived from the original on November 22, 2012. 
  8. ^ abRoig-Franzia, Manuel. "Congress' first openly bisexual member grew up Mormon, graduated from BYU". Standard Examiner. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  9. ^"Project Vote Smart: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema". Retrieved June 1, 2008. 
  10. ^ abcShira T. Center (12 August 2014). "Freshman Congresswoman Moves to the Middle". Roll Call. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  11. ^ ab"Sinema biodata". Retrieved June 1, 2008. 
  12. ^"ASU Directory Profile: Kyrsten Sinema". Webapp4.asu.edu. November 15, 2007. Retrieved September 1, 2012. 
  13. ^Winger, Richard (November 13, 2012). "Kyrsten Sinema, Newly-Elected Arizona Congresswoman, Was Once a Green Party Nominee for Arizona Legislature". Ballot Access News. Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  14. ^"Election Summary". Archived from the original on November 1, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  15. ^"AZ State House 15 - D Primary Race - Sep 07, 2004". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 1, 2012. 
  16. ^"AZ State House 15 Race - Nov 02, 2004". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 1, 2012. 
  17. ^"AZ State House 15 Race - Nov 07, 2006". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 1, 2012. 
  18. ^"AZ State House 15 Race - Nov 04, 2008". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 1, 2012. 
  19. ^"Member Page". Azleg.gov. Retrieved September 1, 2012. 
  20. ^"AZ State Senate 15 Race - Nov 02, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 1, 2012. 
  21. ^"Documents For Bill". Azleg.gov. Retrieved September 1, 2012. 
  22. ^"Straight couples pivotal in gay marriage fight". The Arizona Republic. November 9, 2006. Retrieved June 1, 2008. 
  23. ^"Leeches – AZ-09 – Kyrsten Sinema". National Republican Congressional Committee. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  24. ^Vetscher, Tim. "FACT CHECK: AFF's TV ad attacking Kyrsten Sinema". ABC15 News. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  25. ^Lemons, Stephen. "Kyrsten Sinema's Hilary Rosen Moment, and Her Persistent Verbal Flubbery". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  26. ^Fischer, Howard (October 27, 2006). "Gay marriage debate sparks a feminism battle".
State Representative Kyrsten Sinema attending a protest at the Arizona State Capitol on the day of the SB 1070's signing

Harold Trent Franks (born June 19, 1957) is a former U.S. Representative for Arizona's 8th congressional district, serving in Congress from 2003 to 2017. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district, numbered as the 2nd District from 2003 to 2013, is located in the West Valley portion of the Valley of the Sun and includes Glendale, Surprise, Sun City, Peoria and part of western Phoenix.

In December 2017, the House Ethics Committee announced that it would investigate Franks for sexual harassment and misconduct.[1] Franks had repeatedly asked two female staffers to bear children as surrogate mothers for him, and allegedly offered one of them $5 million to carry his child and retaliated against her when she declined.[2][3][4][5] The women feared that Franks wanted to impregnate them sexually as part of the surrogacy process.[2][5] Franks acknowledged discussing surrogacy with the aides but denied the other allegations; he resigned from Congress immediately after the ethics investigation was announced, blaming his situation on "the current cultural and media climate".[2][6][7]

Early life, education, and business career[edit]

Franks was born in Uravan, Colorado, a company town, the son of Juanita and Edward Taylor Franks.[8] He was born with a cleft lip and palate. After his parents separated, Franks took care of his younger siblings. While his parents took financial responsibility, he overtook the leadership role at home.[9] Franks graduated from Briggsdale High School in Colorado in 1976.[10] After high school, Franks bought a drilling rig and moved to Texas to drill wells with his best friend and his younger brother. He moved to Arizona in 1981, where he continued to drill wells.

In 1987, he completed a course of study at the non-accredited National Center for Constitutional Studies, formerly known as the Freemen Institute, in Utah.[11] For one year, from 1989 to 1990, he attended the Arizona campus of Ottawa University, based in Ottawa, Kansas.[12]

In September 2004, Franks told Franchising World that he had been a small business owner for more than 25 years. He is one of the richest congressmen, with a reported net worth of $20+ million.[13]

Early political career[edit]

Arizona legislature[edit]

In 1984, while working as an engineer for an oil and gas royalty-purchasing firm, Franks began his political career by running for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives, against incumbent Democrat Glenn Davis, an attorney, in District 20 in central Phoenix. Franks, who was a member of the Arizona Right to Life organization and president of the Arizona Christian Action Council, campaigned against abortion and in favor of tougher child abuse laws. He defeated Davis by 155 votes.[14] In the state legislature, Franks served as vice-chairman of the Commerce Committee and Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Child Protection and Family Preservation.

Franks was defeated in his re-election bid in November 1986.[15]

Mecham administration[edit]

In January 1987, he was appointed by Republican GovernorEvan Mecham to head the Arizona Governor's Office for Children, which is a Cabinet-level division of the Governor's office responsible for overseeing and coordinating state policy and programs for Arizona's children.

In late 1987, Franks founded the Arizona Family Research Institute, a nonprofit organization affiliated with James Dobson's Focus on the Family.[16] He was the Executive Director of the organization for four and a half years.[17]

In April 1988, after Mecham was impeached and removed from office, Franks and other appointees resigned their positions. Franks had been under investigation following an Associated Press report about his decision to spend nearly $60,000, without getting bids, for a conference at a former campaign contributor's hotel.[18] Later in 1988, he ran again for a legislative seat, moving to District 18 shortly before the filing deadline.[19] He was successful in the Republican primary but lost in the November general election.

Political activism[edit]

In 1992, when Franks was chairman of Arizonans for Common Sense, one of the organization's efforts was a constitutional amendment on the November 1992 ballot in Arizona that banned most abortions.[20][21] The initiative lost, getting about 35 percent of the votes cast.

In August 1995, Arizonans for an Empowered Future, of which Franks was chairman, launched an initiative campaign to amend the state constitution, replacing the graduated state income tax with a flat 3.5 percent rate, and allowing parents to deduct the costs of private-school tuition.[22] The initiative was not one of those appearing on the ballot in 1996.

Franks worked for and later became president of Liberty Petroleum Corporation,[23] a small oil exploration company established in 1996.[24] Franks served as a consultant to conservative activist Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign.[25]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

1994

Franks ran for Arizona's 4th congressional district in 1994, after incumbent U.S. Representative Jon Kyl decided to run for the U.S. Senate. He lost to John Shadegg, 43%–30%.[26]

2002

Following the 2000 Census,[27] Arizona got two additional seats.[28] Franks decided to run in the 2nd district. That district had previously been the 3rd District, represented by 13-term incumbent Republican Bob Stump, who was not running for reelection. The initial favorite in the race was Lisa Jackson Atkins, Stump's longtime chief of staff, whom Stump had endorsed as his successor. Atkins had long been very visible in the district (in contrast to her more low-key boss) to the point that many thought she was the district's representative. Franks narrowly defeated Atkins in the seven-candidate Republican primary, 28%–26%, a difference of just 797 votes.[29][30] He won the November 2002 general election, defeating Democrat Randy Camacho, 60%–37%.[16][31]

2004

Franks faced unusually strong competition in the Republican primary from the more moderate businessman Rick Murphy. Franks defeated him 64%–36%.[32] He won re-election to a second term, by defeating Camacho in a rematch, 59%–38%.[33]

2006

See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Arizona, 2006 § District 2

He won re-election to a third term with 59% of the vote.[34]

2008

See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Arizona, 2008 § District 2

He won re-election to a fourth term with 59% of the vote.[35]

2010

See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Arizona, 2010 § District 2

Franks was again challenged in the Republican primary. However, he easily defeated Charles Black, 81%–19%.[36] He won re-election to a fifth term with 65% of the vote.[37]

2012

See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Arizona, 2012 § District 8

For his first five terms, Franks represented a vast district encompassing most of northwestern Arizona, though the bulk of its population was in the West Valley. It appeared to be gerrymandered because of a narrow tendril connecting the Hopi reservation to the rest of the district. However, due to longstanding disputes between the Hopi and Navajo, it had long been believed the two tribes should be in separate districts.

However, after the 2010 census, Franks' district was renumbered as the 8th District, and reduced to essentially the Maricopa County portion of his old district. As evidence of how much the West Valley dominated the old 2nd, Franks retained 92 percent of his former constituents, even as he lost 85 percent of his old district's land.[38] He was challenged in the Republican primary by Tony Passalacqua, whom Franks defeated easily, 83%–17%.[39] The new 8th was no less Republican than the old 2nd, and Franks won a sixth term with 63% of the vote.[40]

2014

See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Arizona, 2014 § District 8

Franks won his party's election in the Republican primary on August 26, 2014.

Positions[edit]

The National Journal has ranked Franks among the "most conservative" members of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009.[41] He was a member of the Republican Study Committee.[42]

Online gaming[edit]

Franks is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act[43] and H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[44]

Homeland security[edit]

On October 14, 2009, Franks joined with three fellow Representatives in calling for the investigation of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) over allegations of trying to plant "spies," based on a CAIR memo indicating that they "will develop national initiatives such as Lobby Day, and placing Muslim interns in Congressional offices." The request followed publication of the book Muslim Mafia. Representative Sue Myrick had written the foreword, which characterized CAIR as subversive and aligned with terrorists.[45] CAIR has countered that these initiatives are extensively used by all advocacy groups and accused Franks and his colleagues of intending to intimidate American Muslims who "take part in the political process and exercise their rights."[46][47]

Taxes[edit]

Franks is a signer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[48] In 2010, Franks voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He has high approval ratings from the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.[49] In November 2011, he voted to pass H.R. 2930, which authorizes crowdfunding for small businesses.

In 2009 Franks signed a pledge sponsored by Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any Global Warming legislation that would raise taxes.[50]

Criticism of the Obama administration[edit]

He opposes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, claiming "the thought of Americans' health care decisions being put into the hands of an unimaginably large bureaucracy is a frightening prospect."[51] He is not supported by American Public Health Association or the Children's Health Fund.[52]

In September 2009, he stirred controversy when criticizing President Barack Obama. He said "Obama's first act as president of any consequence, in the middle of a financial meltdown, was to send taxpayers' money overseas to pay for the killing of unborn children in other countries. Now, I got to tell you, if a president will do that, there's almost nothing that you should be surprised at after that. We shouldn't be shocked that he does all these other insane things. A president that has lost his way that badly, that has no ability to see the image of God in these little fellow human beings, if he can't do that right, then he has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity."[53]

Abortion[edit]

In a 2010 interview, discussing the legacy of slavery which Franks described as a "crushing mark on America's soul", the congressman said, "Half of all black children are aborted. Far more of the African American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery."[54][55][56][57][58]

In June 2013, he proposed a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, without exceptions for rape and incest. In defense, he stirred controversy when saying that "the incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low." He later clarified, "Pregnancies from rape that result in abortion after the beginning of the sixth month are very rare."[59][60] The bill passed by a vote of 228–196.[61]

In 2017, he again proposed the same bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks without exceptions for rape and incest. The bill passed by a vote of 237–189.[62]

Franks presided over a hearing to ban abortions after 20 weeks in the District of Columbia, in which he did not allow D.C.'s lone delegate and Member of Congress, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, to testify. In doing so, he said Congress has the authority to "exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever" in the District, even though the heavily Democratic district is strongly opposed to the ban.[63]

Franks has also been involved in the founding of a crisis pregnancy center in Tempe, Arizona, that's still in operation today.[64] In the past, Franks has picketed abortion clinics but has ceased to do so stating in a June 2013 interview that "It became clear to me that I could be more effective by trying to do something to light a candle rather than curse the darkness."[64]

Other[edit]

During the 2008 campaign, Franks stated that he is skeptical about global warming.[65]

He opposes same-sex marriage and abortion.[66]

Franks supports the right to bear firearms. The interest group Gun Owners of America has given Franks high approval ratings.[67] In 2011, he voted to pass the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act.[68]

Franks has also been active with Operation Smile.[69]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

[edit]

  • On July 14, 2017, Franks introduced Amendment No. 13 to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018.[73] The amendment called for a database surveying American Muslim leaders in order to identify violent and "unorthodox" strains of Islam. Critics of the amendment, including, most notably, Minnesota Democratic congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, repudiated the amendment as an attempt to subject one religion to special scrutiny.[74] Franks rejected the charge by acknowledging that radical Islamist groups victimize Muslims more than any other religious group.[75] Ultimately, the amendment was defeated 217-208, with 27 House Republicans joining all the House Democrats in voting in opposition.[76]

Sexual harassment scandal and resignation[edit]

On December 7, 2017, the House Ethics Committee announced that it would create a special investigative subcommittee to determine if Franks had engaged in "conduct that constitutes sexual harassment and/or retaliation for opposing sexual harassment."[1][77] According to reports, Franks repeatedly asked at least two female staff members if they would consider serving as surrogate mothers for Franks and his wife,[77] offering to compensate at least one staff member $5 million if she conceived him a child and allegedly retaliating against one of the staff members for refusing his offer.[4] Upon being briefed on the allegations, Speaker of the HousePaul Ryan found them to be "serious and requiring action" and, after confronting Franks, determined that the allegations, "which he did not deny"—warranted a referral to the House Ethics Committee. Ryan called the allegations "credible claims of misconduct."[4]

In a statement, Franks detailed his struggle with infertility, and said, "Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others."[78] He wrote, "I have absolutely never physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff," but said he would resign effective January 31, 2018, because of the "collective focus on a very important problem of justice and sexual impropriety" and he was "deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me, my family, my staff, and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation."[78]

The following day, Franks's wife was admitted to the hospital "due to an ongoing ailment", and Franks decided to resign effective immediately.[79]

A week after Franks' resignation, Melissa Richmond wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post accusing him of rescinding an offer to intern at his office after she declined to come over to his house on a Sunday night when his wife was not present.[80] Franks denied this allegation.[81]

Electoral history[edit]

PartyCandidateVotes %
DemocraticDebbie McCune (inc.)15,57530.66
RepublicanTrent Franks13,16625.92
DemocraticGlenn Davis (inc.)12,93725.47
RepublicanRichard Adams9,12517.96
PartyCandidateVotes %
DemocraticDebbie McCune (inc.)13,86632.24
DemocraticBobby Raymond10,25823.85
RepublicanTrent Franks (inc.)10,06323.40
RepublicanGeorgia Hargan8,82520.52
PartyCandidateVotes %
RepublicanJohn Shadegg26,48943.10
RepublicanTrent Franks18,57430.22
RepublicanJim Bruner12,71820.69
RepublicanJoan Jugloff3,6785.98
PartyCandidateVotes %
RepublicanTrent Franks14,74927.66
RepublicanLisa Atkins13,95226.17
RepublicanJohn Keegan10,56019.81
RepublicanScott Bundgaard8,70116.32
RepublicanDusko Jovicic3,8057.14
RepublicanMike Schaefer9331.75
RepublicanDick Hensky6181.16
PartyCandidateVotes %
RepublicanTrent Franks (inc.)45,26163.63
RepublicanRick Murphy25,87136.37
PartyCandidateVotes %
RepublicanTrent Franks (inc.)81,25280.87
RepublicanCharles Black19,22019.13
YearDemocraticVotesPctRepublicanVotesPct3rd partyPartyVotesPct3rd partyPartyVotesPct
2002Randy Camacho61,21736.55%Trent Franks100,35959.92%Edward R. CarlsonLibertarian5,9193.53%*
2004Randy Camacho107,40638.46%Trent Franks165,26059.17%Powell GammillLibertarian6,6252.37%*
2006John Thrasher89,67138.89%Trent Franks135,15058.62%Powell GammillLibertarian5,7342.49%*
2008John Thrasher125,61137.16%Trent Franks200,91459.44%Powell GammillLibertarian7,8822.33%William CrumGreen3,6161.07%
2010John Thrasher82,89131.06%Trent Franks173,17364.89%Powell GammillLibertarian10,8204.05%*
PartyCandidateVotes %
RepublicanTrent Franks (inc.)57,25783.17
RepublicanTony Passalacqua11,57216.81
Republican/Write-inHelmuth Hack180.03
YearDemocraticVotesPctRepublicanVotesPct3rd partyPartyVotesPct
2012Gene Scharer95,63535.05%Trent Franks172,80963.34%Stephen DolgosAmericans Elect4,3471.59%
Arizona's 8th Congressional District Republican Primary Election, 2014
PartyCandidateVotes %
RepublicanTrent Franks (inc.)53,77173.26
RepublicanClair Van Steenwyk19,62926.74
Total73,400100
Arizona's 8th Congressional District Election, 2014
PartyCandidateVotes %
RepublicanTrent Franks (inc.)128,71075.81%
Americans ElectStephen Dolgos41,06624.19%
Total169,776100.00%

Personal life[edit]

Franks and his wife, Josephine, have been married since 1980; they are members of the North Phoenix Baptist Church.[84] Franks' wife, Josephine, is an immigrant.[85] In August 2008, a donor egg and surrogate were used to give birth to their twins, Joshua Lane and Emily Grace.[86][87][88][89]

Franks is a past chairman of the Children's Hope Scholarship Foundation.[90]

References[edit]

  1. ^ abLee, MJ; Walsh, Deirdre; Summers, Juana; Watkins, Eli (December 7, 2017). "Arizona GOP Rep. Trent Franks to resign following sexual harassment claim". CNN. 
  2. ^ abcRogers, Katie (December 8, 2017). "Trent Franks, Accused of Offering $5 Million to Aide for Surrogacy, Resigns". New York Times. 
  3. ^DeBonis, Mike (December 8, 2017). "Rep. Trent Franks offered $5 million to aide to bear his child, resigns amid inquiry". Washington Post. 
  4. ^ abcLinderman, Juliet (December 9, 2017). "Ex-aide: Rep. Franks offered $5m to carry his child". Associated Press. 
  5. ^ abBade, Rachel; Sherman, Jake (December 8, 2017). "Female aides fretted Franks wanted to have sex to impregnate them". Politico. 
  6. ^Fandos, Nicholas (December 7, 2017). "House Republican Trent Franks Resigns Amid Harassment Investigation". New York Times. 
  7. ^Bresnahan, John; Bade, Rachel (February 22, 2018). "The Frat House of Representatives". Politico. 
  8. ^"Trent Franks ancestry". freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. 
  9. ^Birhanemaskel, Millete (November 20, 2002). "Congressman from Arizona creates buzz in Briggsdale". Greeley Tribune. Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  10. ^"Trent Franks". Classmates.com. Retrieved September 29, 2009. 
  11. ^Associated Press (August 12, 2002). "Primaries crowded for redrawn 2nd Congressional District". Kingman Daily Miner. Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  12. ^"Trent Franks". Vote-USA.org. Retrieved September 29, 2009. 
  13. ^"U.S. Rep. Trent Franks U.S House of Representatives Financial Disclosure"(PDF). Congressman Disclosure. November 1, 2015. 
  14. ^"Republicans hold fast on Senate control". Mohave Daily Miner. UPI. November 7, 1984. p. 7. 
  15. ^"Legislature results are split". Mohave Daily Miner. UPI. November 5, 1986. p. 16. 
  16. ^ abKen Hedler (December 18, 2002). "Franks seeks widening of school tax credits". Kingman Daily Miner. 
  17. ^"Extended Biography of Congressman Trent Franks". Trent Franks Congressional website. Archived from the original on September 1, 2009. Retrieved September 29, 2009. 
  18. ^"Mecham aides quit, another will leave". Prescott Courier. Associated Press. April 8, 1988. p. 6A. 
  19. ^"Campaign called 'dirtiest' in recent memory". Prescott Courier. Associated Press. September 11, 1988. p. 1. 
  20. ^"Abortion ruling bodes ill for Arizona". Prescott Courier. Associated Press. June 29, 1992. p. 1B. 
  21. ^"Politics of Abortion Likely to Inflame Elections in States". Miami Herald. July 1, 1992. 
  22. ^William F. Rawson (August 2, 1995). "Arizona initiative seeks flat tax, credits for private school tuition". Kingman Daily Miner. Associated Press. 
  23. ^Jonathan D. Salant (December 25, 2002). "A Richer Congress; Nearly Half of Incoming Freshmen are Millionaires". Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. 
  24. ^"Liberty Petroleum Corporation – Profile". Manta.com. Retrieved September 29, 2009. 
  25. ^"GOP lawmaker clarifies remarks critical of Obama". Retrieved September 29, 2009. 
  26. ^"Our Campaigns - AZ District 04- R Primary Race - Sep 13, 1994". 
  27. ^Scott Thomsen (September 12, 2000). "Congress: Grijalva, Franks now front-runners in new districts". The Daily Courier. Associated Press. 
  28. ^"In heavily GOP congressional district in Arizona, Trent Franks wins Republican nomination". Associated Press. September 15, 2002. 
  29. ^Robert Gehrke (September 2, 2002). "Many Arizona House candidates financing own primary campaigns". The Daily Courier. Associated Press. 
  30. ^"Our Campaigns - AZ District 2 - R Primary Race - Sep 10, 2002". 
  31. ^"Our Campaigns - AZ District 2 Race - Nov 05, 2002". 
  32. ^"Our Campaigns - AZ - District 02 - R Primary Race - Sep 07, 2004". 
  33. ^"Our Campaigns - AZ - District 02 Race - Nov 02, 2004". 
  34. ^"Our Campaigns - AZ - District 02 Race - Nov 07, 2006". 
  35. ^"Our Campaigns - AZ - District 02 Race - Nov 04, 2008". 
  36. ^"Our Campaigns - AZ District 02 - R Primary Race - Aug 24, 2010". 
  37. ^"Our Campaigns - AZ - District 02 Race - Nov 02, 2010". 
  38. ^Arizona Redistricting: Commission releases draft map. Daily Kos, October 4, 2011
  39. ^"Our Campaigns - AZ District 08 - R Primary Race - Aug 28, 2012". 
  40. ^"Our Campaigns - AZ - District 08 Race - Nov 06, 2012".
Franks at the 2011 Veterans Day parade in Phoenix, Arizona
Congressman Franks speaking at a rally in November 2014

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