Getting to Know Class Day Speaker Barney Frank

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Mass. House Representative Barnett "Barney" Frank ’61-’62 makes up one half of this year's unlikely Class Day speaker duo. Here are five facts to introduce you to the Congressman, from his Harvard roots to his upcoming wedding plans.

1. He's a Harvard man.

Matthews, then Kirkland. Tutor in Winthrop. HLS ’77.

2. He's been in Congress for over 30 years.

Frank has represented Massachusetts' Fourth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives since 1981, and he chaired the House Financial Services Committee during the turbulent period from 2007 to 2011. He announced last November that this term—his sixteenth—will be his last.

3. He wants to legalize pot.

Frank authored and promoted the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act of 2001 and the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008. He told The Crimson that his views were informed by observing the medical uses of the drug during the AIDS crisis.

4. He made history.

In 1987, Barney Frank became the first member of Congress to publicly and voluntarily come out as gay. With this announcement, he confirmed his status as the only left-handed gay Jew in Congress. This summer he will marry his partner, Jim Ready.

5. He tells it like it is—even to the president.

Frank is known for his "frank" comments. He has made it explicit that while he’d be more than happy to welcome the Obamas to his nuptials, he refuses to host the Secret Service.

Check back soon for five facts about Andy Samberg.

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