Franks, Gary, 1953-

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Gary Alvin Franks (born February 9, 1953) is an American politician who was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut for six years, from 1991 until 1997. He is the first African-American elected to the U.S. Congress from Connecticut, the first modern black conservative elected to Congress, and the first black Republican elected in sixty years. Franks ran for the United States Senate in 1998, losing to incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Chris Dodd.

Franks was born in Waterbury, Connecticut. He was elected president of his class at Sacred Heart High School, matriculating to Yale University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1975. He was captain of the basketball team and a free agent for the New Orleans Jazz NBA team. Franks worked in labor relations for 10 years at Continental Can Co., Chesebrough-Pond's Inc. and Cadbury Schweppes PLC before founding his own real estate firm in Waterbury. Franks served as a member of the Waterbury board of aldermen from 1986 to 1990. He was an unsuccessful candidate for Connecticut comptroller in 1986.

Elected to the House of Representatives in 1990, Franks was the first African-American Republican to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives since Oscar Stanton De Priest won his last term representing the South Side of Chicago in 1932. The other African-American Republican member of the U.S. House in the 1990s was J. C. Watts from Oklahoma. In his 1990 election, Franks defeated former 6th District congressman Toby Moffett, whom Franks portrayed as too liberal to represent the district. Both President George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush campaigned for Franks.

Franks won in a three-way election in 1992 when Democratic candidates split between endorsed candidate Judge James Lawlor, a moderate from Waterbury, and A Connecticut Party candidate Lynn Taborsak, a pro-labor candidate from Danbury. James H. Maloney, then the Democratic state senator from Danbury, challenged Franks in 1994 and received 46% of the vote. In a 1996 rematch, Maloney ran again and defeated Franks, benefiting from President Bill Clinton's strong showing in Connecticut.

Frank's high visibility in congress led to speculation about a run for higher office. Franks declared his candidacy for U.S. Senate in 1998, challenging incumbent Senator Chris Dodd. He ran unopposed for the Republican nomination. Franks was defeated by Dodd in the election, receiving just 32 percent of the vote.

In 1999, Franks founded and became a partner in the public affairs firm, Gary Alvin Associates, LLC based in Washington, DC. Franks has served as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University and is currently a Visiting Professor at Hampton University and the University of Virginia He also served as president and chairman of Pacific Rim Trading & Investment Corp., a Fort Lauderdale group that recycles American scrap metal from America to China.

Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, 1984 - . Congressional Correspondence Committee and Sub-Committee Files, 2015 - 2019. National Archives Library, National Archives Records Administration
Relation Name
employeeOf Cadbury Schweppes, P.L.C. corporateBody
memberOf Congressional Black Caucus (United States) corporateBody
employeeOf Continental Can Company corporateBody
employeeOf Georgetown University. corporateBody
employeeOf Hampton University (Va.) corporateBody
memberOf United States. Congress. House person
associatedWith University of Oklahoma. Political Commercial Archive. corporateBody
employeeOf University of Virginia corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf Yale University. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Fort Lauderdale FL US
Waterbury CT US
Charlottesville VA US
New Haven CT US
District of Columbia DC US
Hampton VA US
Advertising, political
Television advertising
Real Estate Executive
City Councilman
Representatives, U.S. Congress--Connecticut
Professors (teacher)


Birth 1953-02-09






Ark ID: w61k28wq

SNAC ID: 49565465