Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich says that he first met Bob Franks while working together in the late 1980’s, and credited the former legislator and state party chairman with the resurgence of the New Jersey GOP after losing the governorship and control of the State Assembly in 1989.
“He was an aggressive, idea oriented leader,” Gingrich said of Franks, who died Friday of cancer at the age of 58.
Ginrich credited Franks’ leadership of the New Jersey Republican Party, which picked up veto-proof majorities in the Senate and Assembly in 1991, as setting the stage for Republican Christine Todd Whitman to win election as governor in 1993.
Franks was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992 and served four terms there before mounting a nearly successful race for the U.S. Senate.
“While we served together in Congress, Bob was a major force for an effective reform oriented team. With his help in 1994, through the Contract with America, we gained the first House Republican majority in 40 years,” Gingrich said. “In recent years we worked together on health care policy in effort to lower costs and keep jobs in New Jersey. Bob will be deeply missed by the many people he touched.”