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When he won his state's Congressional race in 1990, Connecticut native Gary Franks became the first Republican African American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in nearly six decades. Serving three terms as a Congressman, Gary Franks further distinguished himself as the first and only Republican in the Congressional Black Caucus. Throughout his tenure in Congress, Gary Franks focused most of his legislative efforts on the business and defense sectors. Congressman Gary Franks functioned as Chairman of the Panel for Defense Conversion, as well as Vice Chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee and the Health and the Environment Subcommittee. He also belonged to the Commerce Committee, the Armed Services Committee, and the Small Business Committee. In addition, he chaired the Republican Party task forces on both Welfare Reform and Civil Rights. As the author of the Urban Entrepreneurial Opportunities Bill, also known as the Small Business Administration's New Markets Program, Gary Franks penned legislation that led to the creation of New Market Venture Funds. The New Market Venture Funds provided equity investments and technical aid to small businesses in disadvantaged areas. The congressman also procured a contract for a Connecticut company to build Seawolf-class submarines and $20 million in funding to destroy and clear defenses manufacturing sites in Waterbury that were no longer in use. In the area of welfare, Gary Franks pioneered legislation that reformed the way in which social services were provided and penned several of the bill's provisions himself. In the realm of civil rights, he assisted in creating a bill that passed with the support of most members of Congress in comparison with other past civil rights legislation. Before he was elected into the House of Representatives, Gary Franks oversaw his own real estate company and served on the Board of Aldermen for the City of Waterbury for three terms. He presided as President pro tempore during one of those terms. Today he acts as Partner in a Washington, D.C., public relations firm and serves as a Visiting Professor with Hampton University and Georgetown University. Gary Franks on Ziki Gary Franks - Viadeo Gary Franks' Ryze

Work experience

Jan 1999Present


Government Relations & Public Policy Firm
Aug 2003Present

Visiting Professor

Hampton University


May 1975


Yale University