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- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
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- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
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- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
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ACLU Lobbyist Larry Frankel Found Dead in Washington
Longtime Pennsylvania ACLU lobbyist and Executive Director Larry Frankel, who in the last year or so has become the lobbyist for the national ACLU, has apparently been found dead in Washington under mysterious circumstances. Larry was 54. This is a breaking news story in which most key facts are still generally unknown.
Frankel was an outstanding lobbyist for the Pennsylvania ACLU in Harrisburg, taking positions on scores to hundreds of bills each year. He was a coalition builder reminiscent of Ted Kennedy in the U.S. Senate or William Brennan on the U.S. Supreme Court, who agressively reached out to unlikely allies like the National Rifle Association to help persuade members of the legislature that the ACLU was addressing broad concerns.
His aggressive outreach removed the ACLU from the fringes or margins of state policy and moved it toward the center of direct involvement.
A proud gay man, he was militant on the issue of gay marriage, believing that it was far more important to keep the legal option of gay marriage by defeating a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage than to enact civil unions legislation, an uphill battle that some, including myself, thought was winnable. His views on gay marriage were somewhat vindicated when four New England states and the state of Iowa legalized gay marriage this year.
Larry believed in the importance of facts in making decisions. His correspondence with legislators was full of facts. While his extraordinary depth of knowledge of public policy occassionally made him seem arrogant, I always found him deeply respectful to those whom he had not yet convinced.
He made progress on hard issues, such as the death penalty and mandatory minimum sentences, by documenting their high fiscal costs. He was often a lone legislative voice in debating with the District Attorneys Association, which frequently sought changes in law to reverse unfavorable court rulings.
He was a strong voice on freedom of choice, equal rights for women, and freedom of speech. He recognized he was the under the handicap of working for an organization whose members were generally not politically active, and whose views were not politically popular. But he was tenacious, factual, honest, and decent, and he earned the deep respect of virtually all with whom he came into contact.
He will be deeply missed by his many friends in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, as well as in Washington. He was one of the finest human beings to serve as a lobbyist, and his daily work honored the lobbying profession, as well as the ACLU and the gay community.
Among those who survive his death are his former partner of many years, attorney and former chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Andrew Chirls.