U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., on Monday announced his retirement from elected office at the end of his current term.
The 71-year-old said the gerrymandering of his district added an unfamiliar chunk of territory and he was not willing to undergo the rigors of campaigning for a new constituency.
I'd been ambivalent about running, not because I don't think that the job is important but there are other things I would like to do in my life before my career is over, Frank said during a press conference in his hometown, Newton, Mass. I was planning to run again and then the congressional redistricting came. And this decision was precipitated by congressional redistricting, not entirely caused by it.
The announcement marks the end of three decades in Congress which saw Frank become a leading voice for renewed regulations off the financial industry in the post-bailout era.
He promised to continue to work in the public policy sphere, but from a safe distance, adding he will not become a lobbyist, and does not anticipate kick-starting his latent career in law. Frank used his propensity for snarkiness throughout the conference.
I will neither be a lobbyist nor a historian, he said. One of the advantages to me of not running for office is I don't even have to try to pretend to be nice to people I don't like ... and the notion of being a lobbyist, and having to go and try to be nice to people I don't like -- it would be ridiculous.
I think I will find my motives less impugned and I will be able to talk more about the merits, Frank said, adding he anticipated writing, maybe pursuing an unfinished Ph.D.
Before Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 2011, Frank put a capstone to his career with Dodd-Frank, a hotly-contested set of regulations authored in response to the financial industry's meltdown in 2008.
Frank was first elected in 1980 and rose to become the Chairman then ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee.
The lawmaker's announcement makes him the 16th House Democrat not seeking reelection in 2012.