Barney Frank, U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts and the coauthor of the semi-eponymous Dodd-Frank Act, has announced that he will be retiring from Congress once his term is up. Will anyone be left to fill his shoes?

Barney Frank, the openly gay, frequently hilarious veteran representative from Massachusetts’ 4th district has officially announced today that he will not be seeking reelection once his term is up in 2013. Frank was formerly chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and coauthored the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 — referred to by many as the most significant reform to the financial industry since the Great Depression.

Photograph: Congressman Barney Frank / Photo Gallery source

Chris Dodd, who was chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, left the Senate when his last term ended, too. He was, of course, the other author of the sweeping reform bill. In 2013, Congress will be without either champion of financial reform.

And they will also be without one of their funniest, quick-witted members. In a legislative body whose Speaker has orange skin and frequently cries over seemingly trivial things, and an ineffective minority leader, Frank’s outspoken nature will most certainly be missed.

He kept up this trait at the press conference announcing his retirement on Monday, according to the Washington Post, quipping that he would remain in policy but will “be neither a lobbyist or a historian,” poking fun at Republican presidential nominee Newt Gingrich’s claim that he earned millions working for Freddie Mac as a historian.

While there is plenty of room to speculate over who will get Frank’s seat in the House, and who will get his seat on the Financial Services Committee, one has to wonder who can fill his shoes on Capitol Hill in a more figurative way: is there anyone on the left so outspoken and clever?

And it is interesting to note that both authors of the Dodd-Frank bill have resigned since getting the legislation through Congress. But, both were at the end of two decades of service in Washington — perhaps they had seen enough. And the Dodd-Frank Act, which has drastically altered the relationship between banks, consumers, merchants and Washington, is quite the capstone to a long career. He will be missed, and he will be difficult to replace.

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