|This article is about a person involved in a current event. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses, and initial news reports may be unreliable. The last updates to this article may not reflect the most current information. (December 2017)|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 8th district
January 3, 2013 – December 8, 2017
|Preceded by||Ron Barber|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 2nd district
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Ed Pastor|
|Succeeded by||Ron Barber|
|Member of the Arizona House of Representatives
from the 20th district
January 1985 – January 1987
|Preceded by||Glenn Davis|
|Succeeded by||Bobby Raymond|
|Born||Harold Trent Franks
June 19, 1957
Uravan, Colorado, U.S.
Harold Trent Franks (born June 19, 1957) is a former U.S. Representative for Arizona's 8th congressional district, serving in Congress from 2003-2017. He is a member of the Republican Party. The 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.
On December 8, 2017, Franks resigned from Congress after the House Ethics Committee announced that it would investigate him for a conversation regarding surrogacy with two female staff members. Franks denied any sexual misconduct, but said the way he approached the conversations with his staff members was "clearly insensitive".
- 1 Early life, education, and business career
- 2 Early political career
- 3 U.S. House of Representatives
- 4 Electoral history
- 5 Personal life
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Early life, education, and business career
Franks was born in Uravan, Colorado, a company town, the son of Juanita and Edward Taylor Franks. 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 overtook the leadership role at home. Franks graduated from Briggsdale High School in Colorado in 1976. 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.
In 1987, he completed a course of study at the non-accredited, National Center for Constitutional Studies, formerly known as the Freemen Institute, in Utah. For one year, from 1989 to 1990, he attended the Arizona campus of Ottawa University, based in Ottawa, Kansas. In September 2004, Franks told Franchising World that he had been a small business owner for more than 25 years.. He is one of the richest congressman with a reported net worth of 20+ million. 
Early political career
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. 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.
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. He was the Executive Director of the organization for four and a half years.
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. Later in 1988, Franks ran again for a legislative seat, moving to District 18 shortly before the filing deadline. 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. 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. The initiative was not one of those appearing on the ballot in 1996.
Franks worked for and later became president of Liberty Petroleum Corporation, a small oil exploration company established in 1996. Franks served as a consultant to conservative activist Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign.
U.S. House of Representatives
Following the 2000 Census, Arizona got two additional seats. Franks decided to run in 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. He won the November 2002 general election, defeating Democrat Randy Camacho, 60%–37%.
Franks faced unusually strong competition in the Republican primary from the more moderate businessman Rick Murphy. Franks defeated him 64%–36%. He won re-election to a second term, by defeating Camacho in a rematch, 59%–38%.
He won re-election to a third term with 59% of the vote.
He won re-election to a fourth term with 59% of the vote.
For his first five terms, Franks represented a vast district encompassing most of northwestern Arizona, though the bulk of its population was in the West Valley. It 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 his old district. As evidence of how much the West Valley dominated the old 2nd, Franks retained 92 percent of his former constituents, even as he lost 85 percent of his old district's land. He was challenged in the Republican primary by Tony Passalacqua, whom Franks defeated easily, 83%–17%. The new 8th was no less Republican than the old 2nd, and Franks won a sixth term with 63% of the vote.
Franks won his party's election in the Republican primary on August 26, 2014.
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 and H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.
On October 14, 2009, Franks joined with three fellow Representatives 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 they "will develop national initiatives such as Lobby Day, and placing 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. CAIR has 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."
Franks is a signer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. In 2010, Franks voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He has high approval ratings from the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council. In November 2011, he voted to pass H.R. 2930, which authorizes crowdfunding for small businesses.
Criticism of the Obama administration
He opposes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, claiming "the thought of Americans' health care decisions being put into the hands of an unimaginably large bureaucracy is a frightening prospect." He is not supported by American Public Health Association or the Children's Health Fund.
In September 2009, he stirred controversy when criticizing President Barack Obama. He said "Obama's first act as president of any consequence, in the middle of a financial meltdown, was to send taxpayers' money overseas to pay for the killing of unborn children in other countries. Now, I got to tell you, if a president will do that, there's almost nothing that you should be surprised at after that. We shouldn't be shocked that he does all these other insane things. A president that has lost his way that badly, that has no ability to see the image of God in these little fellow human beings, if he can't do that right, then he has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity."
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."
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." The bill passed by a vote of 228–196.
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.
Franks has also been involved in the founding of a crisis pregnancy center in Tempe, Arizona, that's still in operation today. 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."
Franks supports the right to bear firearms. The interest group, Gun Owners of America, have given Franks high approval ratings. In 2011, he voted to pass the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act.
- Committee on Armed Services
- Committee on the Judiciary
- DUI Caucus
- Congressional Hispanic Conference
- Education Freedom Caucus
- Human Rights Caucus
- India Caucus
- Israel Allies Caucus
- International Religious Freedom Caucus
- Liberty Caucus
- Tea Party Caucus
- Working Group on Judicial Accountability
- Working Group on Waste, Fraud and Abuse
- On April 9, 2013, Franks introduced the Keep the Promise Act of 2013 (H.R. 1410; 113th Congress). If enacted, the bill would prevent the Arizona Native American tribe Tohono O'odham from building a planned casino in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
- On July 14, 2017, Franks introduced Amendment No. 13 to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018. The amendment called for a database surveying American Muslim leaders in order to identify violent and "unorthodox" strains of Islam. Critics of the amendment, including, most notably, Minnesota Democratic congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, repudiated the amendment as an attempt to subject one religion to special scrutiny. Franks rejected the charge by acknowledging that radical Islamist groups victimize Muslims more than any other religious group. Ultimately, the amendment was defeated 217-208, with 27 House Republicans joining all the House Democrats in voting in opposition.
On December 7, 2017, reports surfaced that Franks was being investigated by the House Ethics Committee for "credible claims of misconduct". According to reports, Franks and his wife were struggling with infertility and Franks asked two female staff members if they would consider serving as surrogate mothers for Franks and his wife. In a statement, Franks detailed their 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 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." The following day, Franks's wife was admitted to the hospital "due to an ongoing ailment", so Franks decided to resign effective immediately.
|Democratic||Debbie McCune (inc.)||15,575||30.66|
|Democratic||Glenn Davis (inc.)||12,937||25.47|
|Democratic||Debbie McCune (inc.)||13,866||32.24|
|Republican||Trent Franks (inc.)||10,063||23.40|
|Republican||Trent Franks (inc.)||45,261||63.63|
|Republican||Trent Franks (inc.)||81,252||80.87|
|Year||Democratic||Votes||Pct||Republican||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|2002||Randy Camacho||61,217||36.55%||Trent Franks||100,359||59.92%||Edward R. Carlson||Libertarian||5,919||3.53%||*|
|2004||Randy Camacho||107,406||38.46%||Trent Franks||165,260||59.17%||Powell Gammill||Libertarian||6,625||2.37%||*|
|2006||John Thrasher||89,671||38.89%||Trent Franks||135,150||58.62%||Powell Gammill||Libertarian||5,734||2.49%||*|
|2008||John Thrasher||125,611||37.16%||Trent Franks||200,914||59.44%||Powell Gammill||Libertarian||7,882||2.33%||William Crum||Green||3,616||1.07%|
|2010||John Thrasher||82,891||31.06%||Trent Franks||173,173||64.89%||Powell Gammill||Libertarian||10,820||4.05%||*|
|Republican||Trent Franks (inc.)||57,257||83.17|
|2012||Gene Scharer||95,635||35.05%||Trent Franks||172,809||63.34%||Stephen Dolgos||Americans Elect||4,347||1.59%|
|Arizona's 8th Congressional District Republican Primary Election, 2014|
|Republican||Trent Franks (inc.)||53,771||73.26|
|Republican||Clair Van Steenwyk||19,629||26.74|
|Arizona's 8th Congressional District Election, 2014|
|Republican||Trent Franks (inc.)||128,710||75.81%|
|Americans Elect||Stephen Dolgos||41,066||24.19%|
Franks and his wife, Josephine, have been married since 1980; they are members of the North Phoenix Baptist Church. Franks' wife, Josephine, is an immigrant. In August 2008, a donor egg and surrogate were used to give birth to their twins, Joshua Lane and Emily Grace.
- Lee, MJ; Walsh, Deirdre; Summers, Juana; Watkins, Eli (December 7, 2017). "Arizona GOP Rep. Trent Franks to resign following sexual harassment claim". CNN.
- "Rep. Franks, who asked staffers if they would bear his child as surrogate mothers, to resign". Washington Post. December 7, 2017.
- "Trent Franks ancestry". freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com.
- Birhanemaskel, Millete (2002-11-20). "Congressman from Arizona creates buzz in Briggsdale". Greeley Tribune. Retrieved 2010-03-06.
- "Trent Franks". Classmates.com. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Associated Press (2002-08-12). "Primaries crowded for redrawn 2nd Congressional District". Kingman Daily Miner. Retrieved 2010-03-06.
- "Trent Franks". Vote-USA.org. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
- "U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (a Franchising World Q & A)(Interview)". Franchising World. September 1, 2004.
- "U.S. Rep. Trent Franks U.S House of Representatives Financial Disclosure" (PDF). Congressman Disclosure. November 1, 2015.
- "Republicans hold fast on Senate control". Mohave Daily Miner. UPI. November 7, 1984. p. 7.
- "Legislature results are split". Mohave Daily Miner. UPI. November 5, 1986. p. 16.
- Ken Hedler (December 18, 2002). "Franks seeks widening of school tax credits". Kingman Daily Miner.
- "Extended Biography of Congressman Trent Franks". Trent Franks Congressional website. Archived from the original on 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- "Mecham aides quit, another will leave". Prescott Courier. Associated Press. April 8, 1988. p. 6A.
- "Campaign called 'dirtiest' in recent memory". Prescott Courier. Associated Press. September 11, 1988. p. 1.
- "Abortion ruling bodes ill for Arizona". Prescott Courier. Associated Press. June 29, 1992. p. 1B.
- "Politics of Abortion Likely to Inflame Elections in States". Miami Herald. July 1, 1992.
- William F. Rawson (August 2, 1995). "Arizona initiative seeks flat tax, credits for private school tuition". Kingman Daily Miner. Associated Press.
- Jonathan D. Salant (December 25, 2002). "A Richer Congress; Nearly Half of Incoming Freshmen are Millionaires". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2008-09-18.
- "Liberty Petroleum Corporation – Profile". Manta.com. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- "GOP lawmaker clarifies remarks critical of Obama". Retrieved September 29, 2009.
- "Our Campaigns - AZ District 04- R Primary Race - Sep 13, 1994".
- Scott Thomsen (September 12, 2000). "Congress: Grijalva, Franks now front-runners in new districts". The Daily Courier. Associated Press.
- "In heavily GOP congressional district in Arizona, Trent Franks wins Republican nomination". Associated Press. September 15, 2002.
- Robert Gehrke (September 2, 2002). "Many Arizona House candidates financing own primary campaigns". The Daily Courier. Associated Press.
- "Our Campaigns - AZ District 2 - R Primary Race - Sep 10, 2002".
- "Our Campaigns - AZ District 2 Race - Nov 05, 2002".
- "Our Campaigns - AZ - District 02 - R Primary Race - Sep 07, 2004".
- "Our Campaigns - AZ - District 02 Race - Nov 02, 2004".
- "Our Campaigns - AZ - District 02 Race - Nov 07, 2006".
- "Our Campaigns - AZ - District 02 Race - Nov 04, 2008".
- "Our Campaigns - AZ District 02 - R Primary Race - Aug 24, 2010".
- "Our Campaigns - AZ - District 02 Race - Nov 02, 2010".
- Arizona Redistricting: Commission releases draft map. Daily Kos, 2011-10-04
- "Our Campaigns - AZ District 08 - R Primary Race - Aug 28, 2012".
- "Our Campaigns - AZ - District 08 Race - Nov 06, 2012".
- Roff, Peter (2010-02-26). "The Most Conservative and Most Liberal Members of Congress". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
- "Member List". Retrieved 17 November 2017.
- "Bill Summary & Status - 109th Congress (2005 - 2006) - H.R.4411 - THOMAS (Library of Congress)".
- "Bill Summary & Status - 109th Congress (2005 - 2006) - H.R.4777 - THOMAS (Library of Congress)".
- Doyle, Michael, "Judge: Controversial 'Muslim Mafia' used stolen papers", Charlotte Observer, November 10, 2009, accessed November 17, 2009[dead link]
- Glenn Greenwald (October 15, 2009). "GOP House members call for investigation of Muslim political activity". Salon.com.
- Jordy Yager (October 14, 2009). "House Republicans accuse Muslim group of trying to plant spies". Capitol Hill Publishing Corp.
- Current Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers 25, 2011/https://web.archive.org/web/20110725024055/http://www.atr.org/current-taxpayer-protection-pledge-signers-th-a2851 Archived July 25, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- "Representative Trent Franks's Ratings and Endorsements on Issue: Business and Consumers". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-19. Retrieved 2015-03-27./wp-content/uploads/2009/04/franks.pdf
- Trent Franks, , 2011
- , 2011
- https://web.archive.org/web/20111107220202/http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-5350756-503544.html. Archived from the original on November 7, 2011. Missing or empty
- Mike Madden. "GOP's Trent Franks: Abortion worse than slavery for blacks". Salon.
- "Representative Trent Franks". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- Leibovich, Mark (February 26, 2010). "A Tip on Slavery, Holocaust Talk". The New York Times. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
- "Trent Franks: Abortion Is Worse for Blacks Than Slavery Was " The Washington Independent". Washingtonindependent.com. 2010-02-26. Archived from the original on 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- Fabian, Jordan. "GOPer: Abortion taking worse toll on blacks than slavery – The Hill's Blog Briefing Room". Thehill.com. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
-  CNN.com. June 12, 2013. Retrieved June 18, 2013
-  Washington Post. June 14th, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2013
- ABC News. "House Passes Bill Banning Abortion After 20 Weeks". ABC News.
- "BREAKING: U.S. House votes to ban abortions after 20 weeks". www.liveaction.org.
- , 2012
- Katrina Trinko (19 June 2013). "National Review Online". National Review Online.
- Sept. 11, 2008 10:39 AM (2008-09-11). "Head to Head: Congressional District 2". Azcentral.com. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- Associated Press (2007-02-14). "McCain courting Christian conservatives". MSNBC. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
- , 2011
- Alfano, Sean. "Jessica Simpson Snubs Bush". CBS News. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
- "H.R. 1410 – All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
- McGlade, Caitlin (25 July 2013). "House bill to halt West Valley casino moves forward". azcentral.com. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
- "House rejects controversial study of Islam".
- Flaherty, Joseph (14 July 2017). "Trent Franks Proposed What? His Amendment to Survey Islamic Thought Shot Down in House".
- "House Rejects Proposal For Pentagon To Study Violent Strains Of Islam".
- Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, who asked staffers if they would bear his child as a surrogate, says he will resign (Washington Post)
- Full text: Congressman Trent Franks statement on leaving Congress (Politico)
- Rep. Trent Franks says he's resigning immediately amid reports he offered aide $5M to be surrogate for his child (Fox News)
- "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2007-12-26. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- United States House of Representatives elections in Arizona, 2012
- "The Arena: – Rep. Trent Franks Bio". Politico. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
[...] Congressman Franks and his wife Josephine have been married since 1980. They live in Peoria with their children, Joshua and Emily, and are members of North Phoenix Baptist Church. [...]
- "How Many Latinos Serve In Congress? Depends On Whom You Ask". Fox News. 2013-02-05. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
- "Trent Franks – Arizona – Bio, News, Photos – Washington Times". The Washington Times. 2012. Archived from the original on October 26, 2013. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
[...] Franks and his wife, Josephine, have two children. [...]
- Kelly, Chris (June 28, 2013). "Trent Franks Killed a Limited Number of His Own Unborn Children". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
[...] Trent Franks and his wife Josie have two lovely children, conceived through in vitro fertilization, carried by a surrogate, and legally transferred by a notary in Tucson, just like it says to do in the Song of Songs. [...]
- "Biographical and Introduction Information". Trent Franks for Congress. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
[...] After struggling to have children of their own for more than two decades, Trent and his husband Frank are now the deeply grateful parents of two precious Gifts of God; four-year-old twins, Joshua Lane and Emily Grace. [...]
- "Trent Franks – Biography". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
[...] Father of twins, born in August 2008, via a donor egg and surrogate. [...]
- "Congressman Trent Franks Scheduled to Speak at Northwest Christian Commencement Ceremony". Northwest Christian School Newsletter. 3 (22). Phoenix, Arizona. May 22, 2013. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
[...] Trent Franks is past Chairman of the Children's Hope Scholarship Foundation and a Republican Member of The United States Congress. [...]
- Trent Franks for Congress
- Trent Franks at DMOZ
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
|Arizona House of Representatives|
|Member of the Arizona House of Representatives
from the 20th district
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 2nd congressional district
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 8th congressional district