According to various sources, including Pennsylvania State Representative Mark Cohen, posting at Young Philly Politics, Larry Frankel passed away recently. The cause is unclear.
Frankel was the ACLU’s chief lobbyist in state legislatures, guiding state civil liberties unions through the thickets of their states’ legislatures, building coalitions with partners across the political spectrum, and defending the rights of every American.
As Cohen writes:
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.
Before moving to DC and the national office, he was the legislative director and executive director of the Pennsylvania ACLU. His promotion to the national office was a sign of how effective he’d been in Pennsylvania, where he defeated a range of bills, often defying all odds to find a coalition that could quash a bad bill or defend a good one.
I only met Frankel once, but his intellect and the particular way he approached problems left a lasting impression. He will be missed by all of us concerned about civil liberties and the law.
I don’t know what his family’s wishes are in terms of flowers or donations, but I just reupped my ACLU membership. They’ll need a lot of extra help to continue Larry’s tremendous work.