Portland City Councilman Nick Fish was recently moved to comment on the retirement announcement by Barney Frank (D-MA). After the recounting of Fish’s first campaign experience working on Frank’s campaign, he talks about his legacy:
Barney will be remembered for many things. The first openly gay member of Congress. A crusader for civil rights and marriage equality. Sponsor of Dodd-Frank. A leader in the affordable housing movement.
I will remember him as one of two models for my public service. The first was my father, Hamilton Fish, Jr., a moderate Republican from New York. The second was Barney Frank, a liberal Democrat from Massachusetts.
Both combined strong principles with the pragmatism necessary to get things done. That’s why it never surprised me that they were able to work together on many important issues facing our country.
There will now be a lively debate about Barney’s legacy. For me, it’s simple. 31 years ago a gay person from Massachusetts – even a Congressman – could not serve openly in the military, obtain a top security clearance in the State Department, or get married. All of that has changed.
Barney Frank helped change America, and for that I am grateful.