SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

January 5, 2013

Ex-Rep. Barney Frank on Senate seat: Put me in, governor

BOSTON — Newly retired Rep. Barney Frank revealed yesterday that he would like to serve as a temporary successor to Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the secretary of state nominee.

Frank told The Associated Press that he asked Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint him to serve as the state’s interim senator until a special election is held to fill Kerry’s seat.

Patrick confirmed yesterday that he was considering Frank and believed he would make a “great interim senator,” but added that he had talked to other people about the position as well.

“I’m very well suited to do it,” Frank said. “You’re not going to have a long period to get acquainted with things.”

Frank first disclosed his conversation with the governor on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” yesterday, one day after his 32-year career in the House ended.

Under state law, the Democratic governor will be required to fill the seat with an interim appointment if the Senate confirms Kerry as secretary of state. The special election would then be scheduled between 145 days and 160 days — about five months — after Kerry’s departure.

In a telephone interview with the AP, Frank said he expected Kerry’s confirmation by the end of the month.

Frank previously had said he didn’t want the appointment. But the 72-year-old Democrat, who served 16 terms and headed the House Financial Services Committee, noted yesterday that the fiscal cliff deal that was reached earlier this week to avoid tax cuts on most Americans also means that major spending decisions will be made in next few months.

“I would very much like to be part of deciding those,” Frank said.

He called raising the Medicare eligibility age “a terrible idea,” but would support higher Medicare co-payments for the wealthy in addition to increased taxes on Americans earning $250,000 to $450,000 to help fund the entitlement programs.

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