Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2002, 6th term.

Born: June 19, 1957, Uravan, CO

Home: Peoria, AZ

Education: Ottawa University, 1989-90

Professional Career: Director, AZ Governor's Office for Children, 1987-88; Exec. director, AZ Family Research Institute, 1989-93; Writer-commentator, AZ radio station KTKP; Co-owner, Franks Brothers Independent Drilling; Pres.-CEO, Liberty Petroleum Corp.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Baptist

Family: Married (Josephine) , 2 children (twins)

Trent Franks, a Republican first elected in 2002, is best known for his of fervent opposition to abortion rights; he said in 2010 that it had done more harm to blacks than slavery, and he unsuccessfully pushed a measure two years later that would criminalize abortions based on the sex or gender of the fetus. Franks also has been one of President Barack Obama’s most lacerating critics, predicting in 2008 that the incoming chief executive would be “the most dangerous president this country has ever had.”

Franks grew up in Colorado, attended college briefly, and started his own oil-and-gas exploration business. His political career began when he won a single term in the Arizona House in 1984. There, he was known for wearing a tie tack in the shape of the feet of a fetus, as a constant reminder of his anti-abortion-rights views. In 1987, he was the director of the Governor’s Office for Children under Evan Mecham, a conservative Republican who was later impeached. In 1989, he became executive director of the Arizona Family Research Institute, an organization associated with James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, and he was a consultant to conservative Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign. Franks also designed the state’s 1997 scholarship tax credit legislation, a much litigated measure that ultimately was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The plan provides tax credits for donations to nonprofit organizations to help families pay for private education.

In the House, Franks has accumulated a conservative voting record while emerging as a fierce rhetorical firebrand. He was among the first House Republicans to join the Tea Party Caucus in 2010. Despite the House Republican majority’s desire to focus on economic rather than social issues in the 112th Congress (2011-12), he continued to seek votes on abortion-related bills. In May 2012, the leadership brought to the House floor his measure to criminalize abortions based on the fetus’ sex or gender, on the heels of a similar new Arizona state law. It needed two-thirds to pass under a procedure called “suspension of the rules,” but it got 246 votes to 168 votes against, not enough to meet the criteria for passage. Franks also has repeatedly introduced legislation that would exclude Social Security payments from income taxes.

On the Armed Services Committee, Franks has strongly supported missile defense as well as protecting against electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks. Such attacks involve a powerful shock wave that can disrupt magnetic fields and potentially damage electric systems. From 2007 to 2009, he was the ranking Republican on the Constitution Subcommittee of Judiciary, where he worked to promote building a fence along the country’s borders to stem illegal immigration. In the 113th Congress (2013-14), he is the chairman of the subcommittee. He has been highly critical of a provision in the Voting Rights Act empowering the Justice Department to approve or challenge changes to voting laws in states such as Arizona. He said it was “ludicrous” that his state had to get preclearance before new congressional maps could take effect. “Our record on civil rights is today and in the past is far better than some of the other states,” he said. On a personal note, he has encouraged public awareness of facial deformity similar to the one he has battled. Franks has had multiple surgeries to correct a cleft palate.

Franks first ran for a House seat in 1994 but lost to John Shadegg in the Republican primary, 43%-30%. In 2002, Republican Rep. Bob Stump announced he was retiring and endorsed Lisa Atkins, his chief of staff during his 26-year congressional career. Franks was not in the top tier of candidates, but his base of Christian conservatives and abortion opponents, plus an infusion into his campaign of $300,000 of his own money, made him a contender. He called for overturning the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and for constitutional protection for fetuses. He endorsed a flat tax to replace the federal income tax, supported individual investment accounts in Social Security, and called for tougher enforcement of immigration laws. His base of activists made the difference. He finished first with 28% of the vote, only 797 votes ahead of Atkins, who got 26%. In November, he won 60%-37%.

In his first bid for reelection in 2004, Franks faced a competitive primary against Rick Murphy, a free-spending radio station owner, who hammered Franks for supporting the Republicans’ 2003 bill expanding Medicare to include a prescription drug benefit. Murphy was endorsed by several local Republican officials who complained about their lack of contact with Franks. Murphy also attacked Franks for abandoning his promise not to take money from political action committees. Franks won 64%-36%. He narrowly lost Mohave County, but he took 68% in Maricopa, which cast 76% of the total vote. In November, Franks won 59%-39%.

In the early maneuvering for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, Franks backed Duncan Hunter of California, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, as “an unequivocal social conservative and fiscal conservative” over home-state favorite Sen. John McCain. Later, in 2010, Franks angered African-Americans when he declared that their population has been decimated more by abortions than by slavery. Discussing Obama’s potential reelection, he said in March 2011, “He is a left-wing ideologue of the first magnitude, and if we don’t understand that now, then I’m afraid that somehow he may get back in in two years, and I don’t know that the country can survive that.”

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4576

(202) 225-6328

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2435
Washington, DC 20515-0308

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4576

(202) 225-6328

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2435
Washington, DC 20515-0308

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-4576

(202) 225-6328

7121 West Bell Road Suite 200
Glendale, AZ 85308-8549

DISTRICT OFFICE

(623) 776-7911

(623) 776-7832

7121 West Bell Road Suite 200
Glendale, AZ 85308-8549

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(202) 225-4576

(202) 225-6328

6828 West Camino De Oro
Peoria, AZ 85383-3213

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

6828 West Camino De Oro
Peoria, AZ 85383-3213

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Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Agriculture

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Shari Farrington
Field Representative

Appropriations

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Banking

Shari Farrington
Field Representative

Budget

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Census

Shari Farrington
Field Representative

Commerce

Shari Farrington
Field Representative

Michael Jameson
Business and Commerce Liaison

Disability

Doyle Scott
Business and Commerce Liaison

d.scott@mail.house.gov
(623) 776-7911

Economics

Michael Jameson
Business and Commerce Liaison

Education

Lena Smith
Fellow

lena.smith@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4576

Energy

Shari Farrington
Field Representative

Entertainment

Shari Farrington
Field Representative

Environment

Ellie Stern
Senior Legislative Assistant

Family

Bethany Haley
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Ellie Stern
Senior Legislative Assistant

Shari Farrington
Field Representative

Foreign

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Ellie Stern
Senior Legislative Assistant

Andy Braun
Military Legislative Assistant

Lena Smith
Fellow

lena.smith@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4576

Gun Issues

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Health

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Doyle Scott
Business and Commerce Liaison

d.scott@mail.house.gov
(623) 776-7911

Homeland Security

Doyle Scott
Business and Commerce Liaison

d.scott@mail.house.gov
(623) 776-7911

Human Rights

Lena Smith
Fellow

lena.smith@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4576

Immigration

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Steve Montenegro
District Representative

Shari Farrington
Field Representative

Internet

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Judiciary

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Labor

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Ellie Stern
Senior Legislative Assistant

Land Use

Shari Farrington
Field Representative

Medicare

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Doyle Scott
Business and Commerce Liaison

d.scott@mail.house.gov
(623) 776-7911

Military

Lloyd Bostrom
District Representative

Andy Braun
Military Legislative Assistant

Privacy

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Religion

Lena Smith
Fellow

lena.smith@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4576

Rural Affairs

Shari Farrington
Field Representative

Seniors

Shari Farrington
Field Representative

Social Security

Doyle Scott
Business and Commerce Liaison

d.scott@mail.house.gov
(623) 776-7911

Tax

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Technology

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Telecommunications

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Transportation

Bobby Cornett
Legislative Director

Welfare

Doyle Scott
Business and Commerce Liaison

d.scott@mail.house.gov
(623) 776-7911

Election Results

2014 GENERAL
Trent Franks
Votes: 128,653
Percent: 75.81%
Stephen Dolgos
Votes: 41,048
Percent: 24.19%
2012 GENERAL
Trent Franks
Votes: 172,809
Percent: 63.35%
Gene Scharer
Votes: 95,635
Percent: 35.06%
2012 PRIMARY
Trent Franks
Votes: 57,257
Percent: 83.17%
Tony Passalacqua
Votes: 11,572
Percent: 16.81%
2010 GENERAL
Trent Franks
Votes: 173,173
Percent: 64.88%
John Thrasher
Votes: 82,891
Percent: 31.06%
2010 PRIMARY
Trent Franks
Votes: 81,252
Percent: 80.87%
Charles Black
Votes: 19,220
Percent: 19.13%
2008 GENERAL
Trent Franks
Votes: 200,914
Percent: 59.44%
John Thrasher
Votes: 125,611
Percent: 37.16%
2008 PRIMARY
Trent Franks
Votes: 58,707
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (65%), 2008 (59%), 2006 (59%), 2004 (59%), 2002 (60%)

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