Trent Franks (born June 19, 1957) is the U.S. Representative for Arizona's 2nd congressional district, serving since 2003. He is a member of the Republican Party. 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 western Phoenix suburbs.
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. Franchising World that he had been a small business owner for more than 25 years.
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. 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 in 1981, where he continued to drill wells. He completed a course of study at theCenter for Constitutional Studies in Utah in 1987. From 1989 to 1990, he attended the Arizona campus of Ottawa University. In September 2004, Franks told
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.
The National Journal has ranked Franks among the "most conservative" members of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009. 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. He opposes same-sex marriage and abortion. In a 2010 interview, discussing the legacy of slavery which Franks denounced and described as a "crushing mark on America's soul", the congressman claimed that "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." Franks is a signer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. During the 2008 campaign, Franks stated that he is skeptical about global warming. On October 14, 2009, Franks joined with three fellow Representatives in calling for the investigation of CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) 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 came in the wake of the publication of a book, Muslim Mafia, the foreword of which had been penned by Representative Sue Myrick, that portrayed CAIR as a subversive organization allied with international 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."
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.
Franks was a candidate in the 1994 Republican primary for Arizona's 4th congressional district. He lost to John Shadegg, who then won the general election.
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, in which Arizona got two additional seats, and was heavily Republican. 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, then won the November 2002 general election with 60 percent of the vote.
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.
Franks was challenged by Democratic nominee John Thrasher, Libertarian nominee Powell Gammill, and Write-In candidates William Crum and Mark Rankin. Franks won against Charles Black in the Republican primary.
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. They are members of a Baptist Church. Franks is currently Chairman of the Children's Hope Scholarship Foundation.
August 17th, 2011