Mr. Franks wrote the Urban Entrepreneurial Opportunities Bill. President Clinton signed into law most of its components in 2000. It was called the SBA’s New Markets Program. It is targeted toward the 35 million Americans who live in poverty. The Program created the New Market Venture Funds, which is designed to provide equity investments and technical assistance to ‘Small Businesses’ in ‘Low Income’ areas.
As Chairman of the Panel for Defense Conversion Mr. Franks got $20 million approved for the demolition and cleanup of an old defense manufacturing site in his hometown of Waterbury, CT. When it opened it was the site of New England’s second largest commercial mall.
As Connecticut’s lone member on the Armed Services Committee, Mr. Franks delivered more defense contracts to Connecticut than ever before. This included the awarding of the ‘Seawolf Submarine’ which produced thousands of jobs in Connecticut for more than a decade. Mr. Franks also secured orders for the M-16 rifle for Colt Manufacturing which helped to save the company.
Mr. Franks wrote the bill that authorized Connecticut’s first and only National Park located in Ridgefield, Connecticut call Weir Farm.
Mr. Franks wrote two bills that became part of the Omnibus Crime Bill. Both provisions increased the use of the death penalty.
As a black conservative Congressman Franks battled the Congressional Black Caucus and was thrown out of the Caucus because of his conservative views. Due to national media attention CBC reversed their intolerant position and accepted Mr. Franks back into the Congressional Black Caucus. Mr. Franks was attacked by the father of a black Congresswoman on the stairs of a courthouse in Georgia because of his testimony before a three judge federal Court of Appeals (second highest court in the land) on racial gerrymandering which Mr. Franks opposed. The Court decided with Mr. Franks. The Congresswoman’s father was arrested and convicted of attacking a Congressman.
Prior to being elected to Congress, Mr. Franks served three terms as a member of the Waterbury Board of Aldermen, 1985 to 1990. For one term he was the President Pro Tempore. It was the testimony of Mr. Franks that helped to convict more than ten Republican politicians including the city’s Mayor, President of the Board of Aldermen, Majority Leader, Republican Party Chairman, and a host of others on various corrupt activities associated with municipal land deals.
Before entering politics, Mr. Franks spent ten years as a labor relations executive for three Fortune 500 type companies, Continental Can Co.; Chesebrough Pond’s Inc. (now part of Unilever) and Cadbury Schweppes. He presided over a real estate development and management company.
Mr. Franks is a graduate of Yale University with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology. He was a two-time Captain of the Yale basketball team and was a free agent for the New Orleans Jazz NBA team.
In 1996 Mr. Franks authored his first book ‘Searching for the Promised Land’ published by HarperCollins Publishers.
Coming from very humble beginning, his father had a sixth grade education and his mother was a dietary aide at the local hospital. His parents had six children. Through hard work and the grace of God, three siblings of Mr. Franks had doctorate degrees, one brother became a Colonel in the Army, and the other brother a grade school teacher and coach. As a youngster the Ku Klux Klan attacked the family for moving into a previously all-white neighborhood.
In 1999 Mr. Franks founded and became a partner in the public affairs firm, Gary Alvin Associates, LLC based in Washington, DC. Mr. Franks has served as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University and is currently a Visiting Professor at Hampton University.
Soon Mr. Franks will be releasing his second book – With God, For God, and For Country (Because We Can Do Better).