Frank Buck (politician)
Frank Forrest Buck (born September 26, 1943, in Trousdale County) was a Tennessee politician and a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives for the 40th district, which is composed of DeKalb, Smith, and Macon counties. He was the son of John and Georgia Baird Buck. He has one brother, John William Buck. His father, John, started out as a sharecropper and eventually owned over 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land in Wilson, Smith and Trousdale counties. Neither of his parents completed the eighth grade, as they dropped out of school to work in the Great Depression. His father was stricken with polio while Buck was at Lebanon High School. His father spent many months at Vanderbilt Medical Center recovering, but never walked again.
He served as a member of the House for thirty-six years. He was re-elected as a member of the Democratic Party. Buck was Vice-Chair of the House Transportation Committee and the Chair of the House Public Transportation and Highways Subcommittee. He served as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, a member of the House Judicial Administration Subcommittee, and the House Criminal Practice and Procedure Subcommittee.
Buck graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Tennessee Technological University and graduated with a J.D. from University of Tennessee Law School. He works as a farmer and as an attorney, owning a law practice with his wife, Lena Ann Graves Buck, also an attorney, called Buck & Buck Attorneys at Law near Smithville. He and Lena have 4 daughters, Kathy, Melinda, Sara and Jennifer. In 1990, Frank Buck narrowly lost to Bill Purcell in a bid for the position of House majority leader.
Buck is known for efforts on ethics reform, though critics[who?] accuse him of showboating while other legislators seek reform more quietly, and of only recently[when?] finding ethics in order to use the issue against political enemies. However, his supporters cite his long and lengthy record of supporting and passing ethics reform throughout his thirty-six-year-long legislative career. He exposed a whiskey-for-votes racket operating in DeKalb County and helped to bring reform as a member of the DeKalb County Ethics Commission. In 1994, he took issue with the expense of different execution methods reported by Department of Correction officials that placed a firing-squad execution at $7,000.
In 1993 and 1994, Buck introduced legislation that would have restrained lobbyists from giving gifts and paying travel expenses of members of the General Assembly, and forced more disclosure of such acts. In 1994, he sponsored a bill introduced by former Sen. Carol Rice that became known as the "cup-of-coffee" bill, which would have prevented legislators from taking so much as a cup of coffee from lobbyists. A version of it was passed in 1995—without Buck as a sponsor—with a loophole that allowed legislators to receive free meals and drinks if another legislator is invited. He has received numerous awards from groups for his work on ethics reform including one from Common Cause for the Cup of Coffee bill.
In February 2008, Buck announced he would not run for re-election and would retire when his current term expired.