[italic]The former Democratic congressman has made no secret of his wish to take the role, but he may be too outspoken to find favour[/italic]
By Gabrielle Gurley (01.08.2013)
Democrat Barney Frank, former Massachusetts congressman, is itching to get back to Capitol Hill. Frank has emerged as a leading choice to take up a short-term US Senate appointment to replace Secretary of State-in-waiting John Kerry. The seat would be decided in a special election, but until that can be arranged, the governor of Massachusetts is obliged to appoint a senator as temporary replacement.
Saddled with a reapportioned congressional district that removed one of his key urban strongholds, the waspish congressman announced his retirement in 2011. Frank came out more than 30 years ago, the first gay Washington lawmaker to be so bold – his move prompted then speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, another Massachusetts politician, to lament that Frank would never be "the first Jewish speaker". In 2012, he also became the first congressman to marry to his same-sex partner.
Few would quibble that Frank would hit the ground running in the Senate. He was instrumental in crafting the 2008 bank bailout and the Dodd-Frank Act, the 2010 financial regulatory reform package that bears his name. He is popular in Massachusetts Democratic circles and is getting a healthy amount of support from Bay State newspaper editorial boards and opinion leaders. Even newly-minted Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren likes the idea.
With the 113th Congress under way, the interim senator will have to contend with the unfinished fiscal business of a new sequestration deadline and debt ceiling negotiations, along with a passel of cabinet vacancies. Beside the secretaryships of State and Defense, nominations for the top slots at the CIA, the treasury department, and the Environmental Protection Agency will also wind their way through the Senate in the coming months.
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