Lois Frankel was born in New York City on May 16, 1948. In 1970 she earned a BA in psychology from Boston University (BU), where she was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War. Today she jokes that she “majored in protests” at BU. Frankel further recalls that during her student days, “I told myself I want to try to get into a position where I’m not protesting my government, where I’m part of the government and in a position to change it.”
After earning a JD from Georgetown University Law Center in 1973, Frankel worked as a clerk for Judge David Norman in Washington, DC during 1973-74; co-founded the West Palm Beach, Florida chapter of the National Organization for Women in 1974; was an assistant public defender in West Palm Beach from 1974-78; and was a partner in two separate law firms between 1978 and 1994. Since 1990 she has been a partner in the firm of Ricci, Hubbard, Leopold & Frankel.
A lifelong Democrat, Frankel served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1986-92, and again from 1994-2002. From 2003-11 she was the mayor of West Palm Beach. And in 2012, the voters of Florida's 22nd Congressional District elected Frankel to the U.S. House of Representatives, where she continues to hold seats on the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues, and the Pro-Choice Caucus, among others. She is also a member of the League of Women Voters.
Maintaining that all women should have unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion services, Rep. Frankel has voted: against a proposal to prohibit the federal funding of any such procedures; against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which sought to prohibit abortions from being performed on any fetus that had reached the 20th week of its gestation period—except in cases where a pregnancy endangered the mother's life or was the result of rape or incest; and against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a bill requiring healthcare practitioners to do everything in their power to save the life of an infant who had survived an attempted abortion.
Frankel favors a pathway-to-citizenship for illegal immigrants currently residing in the U.S.; believes that restrictions on immigration are fundamentally racist because they tend to disproportionately prevent nonwhites from entering the country; voted against a 2014 bill barring the Executive branch of the federal government from exempting illegal aliens, either temporarily or permanently, from deportation pursuant to existing immigration law; and voted against the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act, which called for the cessation of federal funding to any state or local governments that willfully shielded illegal aliens from immigration authorities.
Hopeful that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will be gradually expanded until a government-run, single-payer healthcare system is achieved, Frankel voted against the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015, which would have repealed certain provisions of the Act while rescinding federal funds from abortion providers.
As matters of principle, Frankel believes that:
- private businesses should be legally required to implement affirmative-action hiring and promotion policies that give preference to African Americans and women, in an effort to increase the representation of those demographics in the workplace;
- voter ID laws are, by and large, racially motivated attempts to suppress minority voting;
- wealthy individuals should be subject to much higher tax rates than people in lower income brackets; and
- voucher programs designed to enable low-income parents to send their children to private schools should be opposed because they soak up resources that could otherwise have gone to the public education system;
During her years in Congress, Frankel has voted:
- in favor of a 2013 bill to establish a framework for closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by December 1, 2014;
- against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported petroleum from Canadian oil sands to U.S. refineries;
- against a 2015 bill that sought to prevent federal agencies from considering the “social cost” of carbon emissions in environmental reviews;
- against a 2013 bill designed to prohibit any individual who has a delinquent tax debt from becoming an employee of the federal government;
- against a 2015 bill to repeal the estate tax (a.k.a. the “death tax”);
- against a 2013 bill authorizing U.S. states to require that beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participate in some type of work activity—i.e., job training or actual employment—for a minimum of 20 hours per week; and
- against the 2013 No Subsidies Without Verification Act, which called for American Health Benefit Exchanges to verify the eligibility of individuals applying for premium tax credits;
For additional information on Frankel's voting record and issue positions, click here, here, and here.
In an effort to raise campaign funds in 2015, Frankel announced that in exchange for a $2,500 contribution, she would permit someone to sit with her at an upcoming Taylor Swift concert in Washington, DC. Standard ticket prices for that event ranged between $54.50 and $134.50.