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Trent Franks

Trent Franks
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 8th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Ron Barber
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 2nd district
In office
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
In office
January 1985 – January 1987
Preceded by Glen Davis
Succeeded by Bobby Raymond
Personal details
Born (1957-06-19) June 19, 1957
Uravan, Colorado, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Josephine Franks
Children 2
Alma mater Ottawa University
Religion Southern Baptist[1]

Trent Franks (born June 19, 1957) is the U.S. Representative for Arizona's 8th congressional district, serving in Congress since 2003. 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.


  • Early life, education, and business career 1
  • Early political career 2
    • Arizona legislature 2.1
    • Mecham administration 2.2
    • Political activism 2.3
  • U.S. House of Representatives 3
    • Elections 3.1
    • Positions 3.2
      • Online gaming 3.2.1
      • Homeland security 3.2.2
      • Taxes 3.2.3
      • Criticism of the Obama Administration 3.2.4
      • Abortion 3.2.5
      • Other 3.2.6
    • Committee assignments 3.3
    • Caucus memberships 3.4
    • Legislation sponsored 3.5
  • Electoral history 4
  • Personal life 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life, education, and business career

Franks was born in Uravan, Colorado, a company town, the son of Juanita and Edward Taylor Franks.[2] 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.[3] Franks graduated from Briggsdale High School in Colorado in 1976.[4] 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.[3]

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.[5] For one year, from 1989 to 1990, he attended the Arizona campus of Ottawa University, based in Ottawa, Kansas.[6] In September 2004, Franks told Franchising World that he had been a small business owner for more than 25 years.[7]

Early political career

Arizona legislature

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

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

Succeeded by
Ron Barber
Preceded by
Ron Barber
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arizona's 8th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mario Díaz-Balart
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Scott Garrett

External links

  1. ^ Staff (5 January 2011). "Ten Southern Baptists sworn in as new reps.". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on 25 December 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2014. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Birhanemaskel, Millete (2002-11-20). "Congressman from Arizona creates buzz in Briggsdale". Greeley Tribune. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  4. ^ "Trent Franks". Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  5. ^  
  6. ^ "Trent Franks". Retrieved September 29, 2009. 
  7. ^ Q & A)(Interview)"Franchising World"U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (a . Franchising World. September 1, 2004. 
  8. ^ "Republicans hold fast on Senate control". Mohave Daily Miner (UPI). November 7, 1984. p. 7. 
  9. ^ "Legislature results are split". Mohave Daily Miner (UPI). November 5, 1986. p. 16. 
  10. ^ a b Ken Hedler (December 18, 2002). "Franks seeks widening of school tax credits". Kingman Daily Miner. 
  11. ^ "Extended Biography of Congressman Trent Franks". Trent Franks Congressional website. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  12. ^ "Mecham aides quit, another will leave". Prescott Courier. Associated Press. April 8, 1988. p. 6A. 
  13. ^ "Campaign called 'dirtiest' in recent memory". Prescott Courier. Associated Press. September 11, 1988. p. 1. 
  14. ^ "Abortion ruling bodes ill for Arizona". Prescott Courier. Associated Press. June 29, 1992. p. 1B. 
  15. ^ "Politics of Abortion Likely to Inflame Elections in States". Miami Herald. July 1, 1992. 
  16. ^ William F. Rawson (August 2, 1995). "Arizona initiative seeks flat tax, credits for private school tuition". Kingman Daily Miner. Associated Press. 
  17. ^ Jonathan D. Salant (December 25, 2002). "A Richer Congress; Nearly Half of Incoming Freshmen are Millionaires". Associated Press. 
  18. ^ "Liberty Petroleum Corporation – Profile". Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  19. ^ "GOP lawmaker clarifies remarks critical of Obama". Retrieved September 29, 2009. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ Scott Thomsen (September 12, 2000). "Congress: Grijalva, Franks now front-runners in new districts". The Daily Courier. Associated Press. 
  22. ^ "In heavily GOP congressional district in Arizona, Trent Franks wins Republican nomination". Associated Press. September 15, 2002. 
  23. ^ Robert Gehrke (September 2, 2002). "Many Arizona House candidates financing own primary campaigns". The Daily Courier. Associated Press. 
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^ Roff, Peter (2010-02-26). "The Most Conservative and Most Liberal Members of Congress".  
  35. ^ Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4411
  36. ^ Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4777
  37. ^ June 12, 2013. Retrieved June 18, 2013
  38. ^ [12] Washington Post. June 14th, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2013
  39. ^ [13]
  40. ^ [14], 2012
  41. ^ a b [15]
  42. ^ Sept. 11, 2008 10:39 AM (2008-09-11). "Head to Head: Congressional District 2". Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  43. ^ Associated Press (2007-02-14). "McCain courting Christian conservatives".  
  44. ^ 2011
  45. ^ [16], 2011
  46. ^ "H.R. 1410 – All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  47. ^ McGlade, Caitlin (25 July 2013). "House bill to halt West Valley casino moves forward". Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  48. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  49. ^ United States House of Representatives elections in Arizona, 2012
  50. ^ "The Arena: – Rep. Trent Franks Bio".  
  51. ^ "Trent Franks – Arizona – Bio, News, Photos – Washington Times".  
  52. ^ Kelly, Chris (June 28, 2013). "Trent Franks Killed a Limited Number of His Own Unborn Children".  
  53. ^ "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 wife Josie are now the deeply grateful parents of two precious Gifts of God; four-year-old twins, Joshua Lane and Emily Grace. [...] 
  54. ^ "Trent Franks – Biography".  
  55. ^ "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. [...] 


Franks is a past chairman of the Children's Hope Scholarship Foundation.[69]

Franks and his wife, Josephine, have been married since 1980; they are members of a Baptist Church, specifically the North Phoenix Baptist Church.[64] In August 2008, a donor egg and surrogate were used to give birth to their twins, Joshua Lane and Emily Grace.[65][66][67][68]

Personal life

Arizona's 8th congressional district: Results 2012[63]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2012 Gene Scharer 95,635 35.05% Trent Franks 172,809 63.34% Stephen Dolgos Independent 4,347 1.59%
Arizona's 2nd congressional district: Results 2002–2010[62]
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% *

Electoral history

Legislation sponsored

Franks speaking at a fundraiser and evening social in Phoenix, Arizona on May 15, 2014

Caucus memberships

Committee assignments

Franks supports the right to bear firearms. The interest group, Gun Owners of America, have given Franks high approval ratings.[58] In 2011, he voted to pass the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act.[59]

He opposes same-sex marriage and abortion.[57]

During the 2008 campaign, Franks stated that he is skeptical about global warming.[56]


Franks has also been involved in the founding of a crisis pregnancy center in Tempe, Arizona, that's still in operation today.[55] 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."[55]

Franks presided over a hearing to ban abortions 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.[54]

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." [51][52] The bill passed by a vote of 228–196.[53]

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."[46][47][48][49][50]


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."[45]

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.”[43] He is not supported by American Public Health Association or the Children's Health Fund.[44]

Criticism of the Obama Administration

In 2009 Franks signed a pledge sponsored by Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any Global Warming legislation that would raise taxes.[42]

Franks is a signer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[40] In 2010, Franks voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He has high approval ratings from the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.[41] In November 2011, he voted to pass H.R. 2930, which authorizes crowdfunding for small businesses.


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.[37] 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."[38][39]

Homeland security

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[35] and H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[36]

Online gaming

The National Journal has ranked Franks among the "most conservative" members of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009.[34] He is a member of the Republican Study Committee. Franks has also been active with Operation Smile.


Franks won his party's election in the Republican primary on August 26, 2014.

Congressman Franks speaking at a rally in August 2014.

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% of his former constituents, even as he lost 85% of his old district's land. He was challenged in the Republican primary by Tony Passalacqua, whom Franks defeated easily, 83%–17%.[32] The new 8th was no less Republican than the old 2nd, and Franks won a sixth term with 63% of the vote.[33]

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.


Franks was again challenged in the Republican primary. However, he easily defeated Charles Black, 81%–19%.[30] He won re-election to a fifth term with 65% of the vote.[31]


He won re-election to a fourth term with 59% of the vote.[29]


He won re-election to a third term with 59% of the vote.[28]


Franks faced unusually strong competition in the Republican primary from the more moderate businessman Rick Murphy. Franks defeated him 64%–36%.[26] He won re-election to a second term, by defeating Camacho in a rematch, 59%–38%.[27]


Following the 2000 Census,[21] Arizona got two additional seats.[22] Franks decided to run in the newly redrawn Arizona's 2nd congressional district. The district, which had previously been the 3rd district, had come open after 13-term incumbent Bob Stump had announced his retirement. 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.[23][24] He won the November 2002 general election, defeating Democrat Randy Camacho, 60%–37%.[10][25]


Franks ran for Arizona's 4th congressional district in 1994, after incumbent U.S. Representative Jon Kyl decided to run for the U.S. Senate. He lost to John Shadegg, 43%–30%.[20]

Franks at the 2011 Veterans Day parade in Phoenix, Arizona.


U.S. House of Representatives

Franks worked for and later became president of Liberty Petroleum Corporation,[17] a small oil exploration company established in 1996.[18] Franks served as a consultant to conservative activist Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign.[19]

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

. getting about 35 percent of the votes cast The initiative lost, [15][14] In 1992, when Franks was chairman of

Political activism

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.[12] Later in 1988, Franks ran again for a legislative seat, moving to District 18 shortly before the filing deadline.[13] He was successful in the Republican primary but lost in the November general election.

[11] In late 1987, Franks founded the Arizona

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.

Mecham administration

Franks was defeated in his re-election bid in November 1986.[9]

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. [8]

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