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(NECN: Alison King) – “I was planning to run again and then the congressional redistricting came,” said Barney Frank on Monday.
That redistricting plan was a key reason why 16-term Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank has decided not to run for re-election.
Frank's district was changed significantly which would have forced him to campaign before more than 300,000 new voters, a job he said would have required him to spend too much time away from the job he most enjoys, being a legislator and advocate.
“I don't like raising money,” he said. “I would have had to start raising millions now. I think I’d win, but I could not put the requisite effort into that.”
Frank, 71 years old, is considered one of the leading liberals in college, one of the first lawmakers to announce that he is gay.
As chairman of the house financial services committee, Frank played a key role in passing the Dodd-Frank bill which contained the stiffest restrictions on banks and Wall Street since the great depression.
It's a bill that many republican presidential candidate vow to repeal.
“You should have apologized when? When you started giving out loans and sponsoring loans to poor people,” said the republican party chair.
Frank has never shied away from a good debate, making his announcement from Newton City Hall, Frank displayed his signature bluntness as he spoke of one of the advantages to -not- running.
“I don't ever have to pretend to be nice to people I don't like,” he said.
There's nothing warm and fuzzy about Frank.
The Harvard and Harvard law school graduate is often described as acerbic- but also as brilliant and funny.
Asked for his reaction to Newt Gingrich being on top of the republican polls, he responded:
“I did not think I’d lived a good enough life to be rewarded by newt being the republican nominee.”
Frank said he looks forward to possible academic pursuits including writing, teaching and lecturing.
And he hopes to finish a long overdue Harvard PhD-thesis.
“I'm not retiring from advocacy of public policy and in some ways, to be honest, I think I will have more impact in some areas - not in office."