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Frank R. Licht (March 3, 1916 – May 30, 1987) was Governor of Rhode Island from 1969 to 1973.

Licht was born in Providence, Rhode Island to Jacob Licht and Rose Kassed Licht. He graduated from Brown University in 1938 and Harvard Law School in 1941. In 1946, he married Dorothy Shirley Krauss; they had three daughters, and eight grandchildren.

He was a partner with the Providence firm of Letts & Quinn from 1943 to 1956 and was an active member of the Freemasons.[1]

Licht was elected to the Rhode Island Senate in 1949 and served there until 1956. He sat on the Superior Court of Rhode Island from 1956 to 1968. That year, he fought and won an underdog campaign to oust Republican governor John Chafee, later a US Senator. He was elected Governor of Rhode Island and served as the first Jewish holder of that office from 1969 to 1973.

As governor, he reversed campaign promises made in 1968 and 1970, pushing through Rhode Island's first income tax in order to resolve a worsening fiscal crisis. He signed the tax bill minutes after the Senate had passed it on a 26-24 vote, against the backdrop of some 500 angry demonstrators in the State House.

He was the uncle of Richard A. Licht, who was Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island from 1985 to 1989.

Frank Licht died of cancer at Roger Williams Hospital. Michael Dukakis spoke at his funeral in 1987. ([2])


Political offices
Preceded by
John Chafee
Governor of Rhode Island
Succeeded by
Philip W. Noel


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