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U.S. House ranking Democrat not to seek reelection

(Xinhua)

16:02, November 29, 2011

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Barney Frank, ranking Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, announced Monday that he decided not to seek reelection.

The 16-term congressman of Massachusetts is the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. He is known for coauthoring the so-called Dodd-Frank bill that was enacted in 2010 to overhaul the financial regulation rules.

"I was planning to run again, and then congressional redistricting came," Frank told reporters at a news conference in Newton, Massachusetts, attributing his decision in part to the redrawing of congressional boundaries after midterm elections last year, which made Frank's district more competitive than ever before.

"It would have been a tough campaign," he said. "I would have a hard time justifying to myself to do it."

The 71-year-old Frank is a legendary figure in Congress. He is the nation's most powerful openly-gay elected official, and championed the effort to successfully end a controversial law that bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

President Barack Obama praised Frank's service in Congress, particularly his leading role in passing the Wall Street reform law.

"This country has never had a Congressman like Barney Frank, and the House of Representatives will not be the same without him, " Obama said in a statement. "It is only thanks to his leadership that we were able to pass the most sweeping financial reform in history designed to protect consumers and prevent the kind of excessive risk-taking that led to the financial crisis from ever happening again."

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