Trent Franks: Wikis


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Trent Franks

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 2nd district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2003
Preceded by Bob Stump

In office

Born June 19, 1957 (1957-06-19) (age 52)
Uravan, Colorado
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Josephine Franks
Residence Glendale, Arizona
Alma mater Ottawa University
Occupation oil executive, political researcher
Religion Baptist

Trent Franks (born June 19, 1957) is a conservative Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 2003, representing Arizona's 2nd congressional district (map). The district takes in the entire northwestern corner of the state, including Kingman and Lake Havasu City, but most of its vote is cast in the Phoenix suburbs.


Early life and education

Franks was born in Uravan, Colorado, a company town. He was born with a cleft lip and palate, and has said that doctors after his birth initially gave his parents little hope for his long-term survival. Franks underwent nine operations altogether, the first when he was two-and-a-half weeks old.[1] After his parents separated, Franks took care of his younger siblings. While his parents took financial responsibility, he overtook the leadership role at home.[2] Franks graduated from Briggsdale High School in Colorado in 1976.[3] Although Franks received a scholarship, he decided not to go to college immediately. Instead, he bought a drilling rig and moved to Texas to drill wells with his little brother and best friend. Franks then moved to Arizona, where he continued to drill wells before deciding to enter politics.[2]

He completed a course of study at the Center for Constitutional Studies in Utah in 1987.[4] From 1989 to 1990, he attended the Arizona campus of Ottawa University.[5]


Prior to Congress

In September 2004, Franks told Franchising World that he had been a small business owner for more than 25 years.[6]

Franks moved from Texas to Arizona in 1981. In 1984, while working as an engineer for an oil and gas royalty-purchasing firm, he began his political career by running for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives, against incumbent Democrat Glen 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.[7] 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.

Franks was defeated in his re-election bid in November 1986.[8] 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.[9] He was the Executive Director of the organization for four and a half years.[10]

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. [11]. Later in 1988, Franks ran again for a legislative seat, moving to District 18 shortly before the filing deadline.[12]. He was successful in the Republican primary but lost in the November general election.

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.[13][14] The initiative lost, getting about 35 percent of the votes cast.

Franks was a candidate in the 1994 Republican primary for the Congressional seat of the 4th District of Arizona. He lost to John Shadegg, who then won the general election.

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.[15] The initiative was not one of those appearing on the ballot in 1996.

Franks worked for and later became president of Liberty Petroleum Corporation,[16] a small oil exploration company established in 1996.[17]

Franks served as a consultant to conservative activist Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign. [18]


When 3rd District Congressman Bob Stump decided to retire after 13 terms, Franks entered the race to succeed him. The district had been redrawn and renumbered the 2nd after redistricting, following the 2000 Census,[19] in which Arizona got two additional seats, and was heavily Republican.[20] 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 primary, along with five other Republicans, after contributing more than $300,000 of his own money to his campaign.[21], then won the November 2002 general election with 60 percent of the vote.[9]

In 2004, Franks faced unusually strong competition in the Republican primary from the more moderate Rick Murphy, but defeated him, winning 65% of the primary vote. He won re-election in November 2004 with 59% of the vote, the same percentage that he received in his 2006 and 2008 re-elections.

Political positions

The National Journal has ranked Franks among the "most conservative" members of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009.[22] Franks is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act[23] and H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[24]

He opposes same-sex marriage and abortion.[25]

Franks is a signer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[26]

During the 2008 campaign, Franks stated that he is skeptical about the scientific consensus on global warming.[27]


In a 2010 interview, discussing the legacy of slavery which Franks denounced and described as a "crushing mark on America's soul", the congressman stated "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."[28] In reaction to Rep. Trent Frank's remarks, a spokeswoman from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee responded, "To compare the horrors and inhumane treatment of millions of African Americans during slavery as a better way of life for African Americans today is beyond repulsive."[29][30][31][32]

Personal life

Franks and his wife, Josephine, have been married since 1980. In August 2008, a donor egg and surrogate were used to give birth to their twins.[33] They are members of a Baptist Church.

Franks is currently Chairman of the Children's Hope Scholarship Foundation.

Committee assignments

Franks serves on the Judiciary Committee and the Armed Services Committee. Franks is also a member of the Republican Study Committee, House Working Group on Judicial Accountability, House Working Group on Waste, Fraud and Abuse, the Republican Liberty Caucus, the DUI Caucus, the Human Rights Caucus, the India Caucus, the Refugee Caucus, and the Education Freedom Caucus. Franks has also been active with Operation Smile.

Electoral history

Arizona's 2nd congressional district: Results 2002–2008[34]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2002 Randy Camacho 61,217 37% Trent Franks 100,359 60% Edward Carlson Libertarian 5,919 4% *
2004 Randy Camacho 107,406 38% Trent Franks 165,260 59% Powell Gammill Libertarian 6,625 2% *
2006 John Thrasher 89,671 39% Trent Franks 135,150 59% Powell Gammill Libertarian 5,734 2% *
2008 John Thrasher 104,594 38% Trent Franks 160,521 59% Powell Gammill Libertarian 6,093 2% William Crum Green 2,676 1%
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2002, William Crum received 7 votes. In 2004, write-ins received 12 votes. In 2006, write-ins received 5 votes


  1. ^ Billy House (July 24, 2005). "Franks brings own story to group's surgery mission for Iraq kids". Arizona Republic. 
  2. ^ a b Birhanemaskel, Millete (2002-11-20). "Congressman from Arizona creates buzz in Briggsdale". Greeley Tribune. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  3. ^ "Trent Franks". Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  4. ^ Associated Press (2002-08-12). "Primaries crowded for redrawn 2nd Congressional District". Kingman Daily Miner.,3632056&dq=trent+franks+ottawa+university&hl=en. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  5. ^ "Trent Franks". Retrieved September 29, 2009. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (a Franchising World Q & A)(Interview)". Franchising World. September 1, 2004. 
  7. ^ "Republicans hold fast on Senate control". Mohave Daily Miner (UPI): p. 7. November 7, 1984.,668571&dq=trent-franks. 
  8. ^ "Legislative reulsts are split". Mohave Daily Miner (UPI): p. 16. November 5, 1986.,430253&dq=trent-franks. 
  9. ^ a b Ken Hedler (December 18, 2002). "Franks seeks widening of school tax credits". Kingman Daily Miner.,8863189&dq=trent-franks. 
  10. ^ "Extended Biography of Congressman Trent Franks". Trent Franks Congressional website. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  11. ^ "Mecham aides quit, another will leave". Prescott Courier (AP): p. 6A. April 8, 1988.,1408752&dq=trent-franks. 
  12. ^ "Campaign called 'dirtiest' in recent memory". Prescott Courier (AP): p. 1. September 11, 1988.,2247028&dq=trent-franks. 
  13. ^ "Abortion ruling bodes ill for Arizona". Prescott Courier (AP): p. 1B. June 29, 1992.,7041640&dq=trent-franks. 
  14. ^ "Politics of Abortion Likely to Inflame Elections in States". Miami Herald. July 1, 1992. 
  15. ^ William F. Rawson (August 2, 1995). "Arizona initiative seeks flat tax, credits for private school tuition". Kingman Daily Miner (AP).,371289&dq=trent-franks. 
  16. ^ Jonathan D. Salant (December 25, 2002). "A Richer Congress; Nearly Half of Incoming Freshmen are Millionaires". Associated Press. 
  17. ^ "Liberty Petroleum Corporation – Profile". Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  18. ^ "GOP lawmaker clarifies remarks critical of Obama". Retrieved September 29, 2009. 
  19. ^ Scott Thomsen (September 12, 2000). "Congress: Grijalva, Franks now front-runners in new districts". The Daily Courier (Associated Press).,1999344&dq=trent-franks. 
  20. ^ "In heavily GOP congressional district in Arizona, Trent Franks wins Republican nomination". Associated Press. September 15, 2002. 
  21. ^ Robert Gehrke (September 2, 2002). "Many Arizona House candidates financing own primary campaigns". The Daily Courier (Associated Press).,365885&dq=trent-franks. 
  22. ^ Roff, Peter (2010-02-26). "The Most Conservative and Most Liberal Members of Congress". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  23. ^ Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4411
  24. ^ Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4777
  25. ^ Associated Press (2007-02-14). "McCain courting Christian conservatives". MSNBC. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  26. ^ Current Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers
  27. ^ [1]
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ Kate Oczypok (February 3, 2009). "Sports fan’s ties to Steelers: Boss’s family owns NFL team". The Hill. 
  34. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bob Stump
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 2nd congressional district

2003 – present
Representatives to the 108th–111th United States Congresses from Arizona (ordered by seniority)
108th Senate: J. McCain | J. Kyl House: J. Kolbe | E. Pastor | J. D. Hayworth | J. Shadegg | J. Flake | T. Franks | R. Grijalva | R. Renzi
109th Senate: J. McCain | J. Kyl House: J. Kolbe | E. Pastor | J. D. Hayworth | J. Shadegg | J. Flake | T. Franks | R. Grijalva | R. Renzi
110th Senate: J. McCain | J. Kyl House: E. Pastor | J. Shadegg | J. Flake | T. Franks | R. Grijalva | R. Renzi | G. Giffords | H. Mitchell
111th Senate: J. McCain | J. Kyl House: E. Pastor | J. Shadegg | J. Flake | T. Franks | R. Grijalva | G. Giffords | H. Mitchell | A. Kirkpatrick

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