Trent Franks

Last updated

Trent Franks
Trent Franks 113th Congress.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona
In office
January 3, 2003 December 8, 2017
Preceded by Ed Pastor
Succeeded by Debbie Lesko
Constituency 2nd district (2003–2013)
8th district (2013–2017)
Member of the ArizonaHouseofRepresentatives
from the 20th district
In office
January 1985 January 1987
Servingwith Debbie McCune Davis
Preceded byGlenn Davis [1]
Succeeded byBobby Raymond
Personal details
Born
Harold Trent Franks

(1957-06-19) June 19, 1957 (age 62)
Uravan, Colorado, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)
Josephine Franks(m. 1980)
Children2
Education Ottawa University

Harold Trent Franks (born June 19, 1957) is a former American politician and businessman who served as the U.S. Representative for Arizona's 8th congressional district from 2003 to 2017. He is a member of the Republican Party. The 8th 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.

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national legislature of the United States.

Arizonas 8th congressional district

Arizona's 8th congressional district is a congressional district located in the U.S. state of Arizona. It includes many of the suburbs north and west of Phoenix, in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Republican Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.

Contents

In December 2017, the House Ethics Committee announced that it would investigate allegations of sexual harassment against Franks. [2] Franks had repeatedly asked two female staffers to bear his children as surrogate mothers, and allegedly offered one of them $5 million to carry his child and retaliated against her when she declined. [3] [4] [5] [6] The women feared that Franks wanted to impregnate them sexually as part of the surrogacy process. [3] [6] 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". [3] [7] [8]

The Committee on Ethics, often known simply as the Ethics Committee, is one of the committees of the United States House of Representatives. Prior to the 112th Congress it was known as the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

Sexual harassment is a type of harassment technique that relates to a sexual nature and the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. Sexual harassment includes a range of actions from mild transgressions to sexual abuse or assault. Harassment can occur in many different social settings such as the workplace, the home, school, churches, etc. Harassers or victims may be of any gender.

Surrogacy Arrangement in which a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person

Surrogacy is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant and give birth to a child for another person(s) who is or will become the parent(s) of the child.

Early life, education, and business career

Franks was born in Uravan, Colorado, a company town which is now a ghost town. Franks is the son of Juanita and Edward Taylor Franks. [9] 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 took on a leadership role at home. [10] Franks graduated from Briggsdale High School in Colorado in 1976. [11] 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.

Uravan, Colorado human settlement in Colorado, United States of America

Uravan is an abandoned uranium mining town in western Montrose County, Colorado, United States, that is now a Superfund site. The town was a company town established by U. S. Vanadium Corporation in 1936 to extract the rich vanadium ore in the region. As a byproduct of vanadium extraction, small amounts of uranium were also produced, at the time mostly used as a yellow pigment.

Company town place where practically all stores and housing are owned by the one company that is also the main employer

A company town is a place where practically all stores and housing are owned by the one company that is also the main employer. Company towns are often planned with a suite of amenities such as stores, churches, schools, markets and recreation facilities. They are usually bigger than a model village.

Ghost town City depopulated of inhabitants and that stays practically intact

A ghost town is an abandoned village, town, or city, usually one that contains substantial visible remains. A town often becomes a ghost town because the economic activity that supported it has failed, or due to natural or human-caused disasters such as floods, prolonged droughts, government actions, uncontrolled lawlessness, war, pollution, or nuclear disasters. The term can sometimes refer to cities, towns, and neighbourhoods that are still populated, but significantly less so than in past years; for example, those affected by high levels of unemployment and dereliction.

In 1987, he completed a course of study at the non-accredited Utah's National Center for Constitutional Studies, formerly known as the Freemen Institute. [12] For one year, from 1989 to 1990, he attended the Arizona campus of Ottawa University. [13]

The National Center for Constitutional Studies (NCCS) is a conservative, religious-themed organization, founded by Latter-day Saint political writer W. Cleon Skousen. It was formerly known as The Freemen Institute.

Ottawa University private, non-profit, Christian liberal arts university in Ottawa, Kansas, United States

Ottawa University (OU) is a private Baptist liberal arts university in Ottawa, Kansas and satellite campuses in several locations throughout the Unites States. It was founded in 1865 and is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA. Ottawa has approximately 700 students on its residential campus in Ottawa, 500 on its residential campus in Surprise, and about 4,000 students across all of its campuses and online.

Early political career

Arizona legislature

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.

Arizona House of Representatives Lower house of U.S. state legislature

The Arizona House of Representatives is the lower house of the Arizona Legislature, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Arizona. The upper house is the Senate. Its members are elected to two-year terms with a term limit of four consecutive terms. Members of the Republican Party currently hold a narrow majority in the House.

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

Mecham administration

In January 1987, he was appointed by Republican Governor Evan 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

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

Elections

Franks at the 2011 Veterans Day parade in Phoenix, Arizona Trent Franks by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Franks at the 2011 Veterans Day parade in Phoenix, Arizona
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' home in Glendale was drawn into 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

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

2008

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

2010

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

For his first five terms, Franks represented a vast district encompassing most of northwestern Arizona. While the district appeared rural, the bulk of its population was in the West Valley, which had dominated the district since it was drawn into what was then the 3rd in 1967. The district 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 the old 2nd. As evidence of how much the West Valley had dominated the district, 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
Congressman Franks speaking at a rally in November 2014 Trent Franks & Paul Gosar (15088251553).jpg
Congressman Franks speaking at a rally in November 2014

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

Political positions

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

Online gaming

In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act [43] [ non-primary source needed ] and H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. [44] [ non-primary source needed ]

Homeland security

On October 14, 2009, Franks joined with three other members of Congress 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 the group planned to "develop national initiatives such as Lobby Day" and place "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 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

Franks signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. [48] In 2010, Franks voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He received 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.[ citation needed ]

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

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

In September 2009, he called President Barack Obama an "enemy of humanity" with his spokesperson later clarifying the remarks were in response to President Obama's position on abortion. [53]

Abortion

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

Franks in 2016 Trent Franks (29494349983).jpg
Franks in 2016

During the 2008 campaign, Franks stated that he is skeptical about global warming and other commonly accepted theories supported by the scientific community. [65]

He opposes same-sex marriage. [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

Caucus memberships

Legislation sponsored

Sexual harassment scandal and resignation

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." [2] [78] 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, [78] 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 demand. [5] Upon being briefed on the allegations, Speaker of the House Paul 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." [5]

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." 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." [79]

The following day, Franks's wife was allegedly admitted to the hospital "due to an ongoing ailment", and Franks decided to resign effective immediately. [80]

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. [81] Franks denied this allegation. [82]

Electoral history

Arizona House of Representatives 20th District Election, 1984
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticDebbie McCune (inc.)15,57530.66
RepublicanTrent Franks13,16625.92
DemocraticGlenn Davis (inc.)12,93725.47
RepublicanRichard Adams9,12517.96
Arizona House of Representatives 20th District Election, 1986
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticDebbie McCune (inc.)13,86632.24
DemocraticBobby Raymond10,25823.85
RepublicanTrent Franks (inc.)10,06323.40
RepublicanGeorgia Hargan8,82520.52
Arizona's 4th Congressional District Republican Primary Election, 1994
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanJohn Shadegg26,48943.10
RepublicanTrent Franks18,57430.22
RepublicanJim Bruner12,71820.69
RepublicanJoan Jugloff3,6785.98
Arizona's 2nd Congressional District Republican Primary Election, 2002
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
Arizona's 2nd Congressional District Republican Primary Election, 2004
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanTrent Franks (inc.)45,26163.63
RepublicanRick Murphy25,87136.37
Arizona's 2nd Congressional District Republican Primary Election, 2010
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanTrent Franks (inc.)81,25280.87
RepublicanCharles Black19,22019.13
Arizona's 2nd congressional district : Results 2002–2010 [83]
YearDemocraticVotesPctRepublicanVotesPct3rd partyPartyVotesPct3rd partyPartyVotesPct
2002 Randy Camacho 61,21736.55%Trent Franks100,35959.92%Edward R. Carlson Libertarian 5,9193.53%*
2004 Randy Camacho 107,40638.46%Trent Franks165,26059.17%Powell Gammill Libertarian 6,6252.37%*
2006 John Thrasher89,67138.89%Trent Franks135,15058.62%Powell Gammill Libertarian 5,7342.49%*
2008 John Thrasher125,61137.16%Trent Franks200,91459.44%Powell Gammill Libertarian 7,8822.33%William Crum Green 3,6161.07%
2010 John Thrasher82,89131.06%Trent Franks173,17364.89%Powell Gammill Libertarian 10,8204.05%*
Arizona's 8th Congressional District Republican Primary Election, 2012
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanTrent Franks (inc.)57,25783.17
RepublicanTony Passalacqua11,57216.81
Republican/Write-inHelmuth Hack180.03
Arizona's 8th congressional district : Results 2012 [84]
YearDemocraticVotesPctRepublicanVotesPct3rd partyPartyVotesPct
2012 Gene Scharer95,63535.05%Trent Franks172,80963.34%Stephen DolgosAmericans Elect4,3471.59%
Arizona's 8th Congressional District Republican Primary Election, 2014
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Trent Franks (inc.)53,77173.26
RepublicanClair Van Steenwyk19,62926.74
Total73,400100
Arizona's 8th Congressional District Election, 2014
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Trent Franks (inc.)128,71075.81%
Americans ElectStephen Dolgos41,06624.19%
Total169,776100.00%

Personal life

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

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

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References

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Arizona House of Representatives
Preceded by
Glen Davis
Member of the Arizona House of Representatives
from the 20th district

1985–1987
Succeeded by
Bobby Raymond
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ed Pastor
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 2nd congressional district

2003–2013
Succeeded by
Ron Barber
Preceded by
Ron Barber
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 8th congressional district

2013–2017
Succeeded by
Debbie Lesko