Lois Frankel ContactBack to top
Address: 1037 LHOB, DC 20515
Phone: (561) 998-9045
Address: 2500 North Military Trail, Boca Raton FL 33431-6354
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Lois Frankel BiographyBack to top
- Elected: 2012, 1st term.
- District: Florida 22
- Born: May. 16, 1948, New York, NY
- Home: West Palm Beach
Boston University, B.A., 1970; Georgetown University, J.D., 1973
- Professional Career:
Practicing lawyer, 1978-2003; assistant public defender, West Palm Beach, 1974-78
- Political Career:
Mayor, West Palm Beach, 2003-2011; Florida House, 1986-1992, 1994-2002
- Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
- Family: Divorced; 1 children
Democrat Lois Frankel won election in 2012 to the newly redrawn 22nd District to succeed Republican firebrand Allen West, who ran and lost in the nearby 18th District. Despite a reputation in local and state government as a staunch liberal, Frankel focused her campaign on her willingness to reach across the aisle.
Frankel was born and raised in New York City. Her father was in manufacturing, and her mother was a homemaker. Frankel was a tomboy growing up and enjoyed playing sports, especially basketball. She studied psychology at Boston University with the intent of becoming a psychiatrist, but her career plans changed when she became involved in the social movements of the late 1960s. “I was a student activist, and I was involved in antiwar protesting and the women’s liberation movement,” Frankel told National Journal. “There were so many movements … it was all bubbling.”
Hoping to be “a change agent from the inside,” Frankel decided to go to law school. After getting her degree from Georgetown University, she spent a year as a law clerk for Superior Court Judge David Norman and then moved to West Palm Beach. Her first run for public office was in 1986, when she ran successfully for an open state House seat. She eventually rose to become the first woman minority leader in Florida history. She also wrote the state’s first AIDS law, which among other things ensured confidentiality in testing. She waged an unsuccessful bid against Democratic U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings in 1992, losing 57% to 43% in a runoff.
Term limits forced Frankel to leave the Florida House in 2003. She ran for mayor of West Palm Beach and defeated incumbent Mayor Joel Daves. Though she compiled what the Sun-Sentinel described as an “impressive” record, she angered several labor unions when the city laid off workers, and she developed a reputation for being abrasive.
In March 2011, Frankel announced she would challenge West, who was one of the tea party movement’s most outspoken adherents. For nearly a year, Frankel and another Democrat, political newcomer Patrick Murphy, struggled to remain financially competitive with West. But in February 2012, West announced he would run in the neighboring 18th District, made more GOP-friendly by redistricting. Democrats avoided a potentially bruising primary when Murphy announced he would follow West to the newly drawn Treasure Coast district and take him on there.
But Democratic Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs also got into the primary contest. Frankel and Jacobs had nearly identical stances on issues, but Frankel had the backing of national leaders. She was endorsed by Hastings and got a rare visit from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi eight days before the primary. She coasted to a primary win with 61%.
Former state Rep. Republican Adam Hasner decided to end his failing U.S. Senate campaign and run as the Republican candidate for the House seat. In the general election campaign, Frankel attacked Hasner’s support of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which introduced vouchers into the Medicare program, and his stance against abortion rights. An ad by the House Republican “Young Guns” program, later pulled because of inaccuracy, accused Frankel of frivolous spending while mayor. Frankel emphasized her work with small businesses to create incentives for more jobs.
Both she and Hasner tried to avoid sounding extreme, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel remarked that each had “shed their past personas like pythons in the Everglades.” The Miami Herald endorsed Frankel, citing her “longer familiarity” with the district, and its Democratic lean helped her pull out a 55%-45% win.Show Less