Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from P-T » Raines, Franklin(1949–) - From Law Practice to Government Service, Chronology, Becomes Budget Mogul, Faces Accounting Scandal

Federal government official, lawyer

raines home family father

Franklin Delano Raines was born on January 14, 1949, in Seattle, Washington. Raines was named after his father, Delno, but the hospital mistakenly recorded his name as Franklin Delano, assuming he was named after President Roosevelt. Having the initials F.D.R seemed to mark Raines for a special role in public service and government. Both his parents were employed as janitors. His mother held a steady job at Boeing, a fact Raines proudly acknowledged when he joined the company’s board of directors. His father, who suffered from severe bouts of depression, worked intermittently for the Seattle parks department. During his frequent hospitalizations, the family was forced to seek welfare assistance. Raines is the fourth of six children. The family included a seventh child, a nephew under the guardianship of his parents. Although his childhood years were tough economically, the family managed to stay together. His parents taught by example, instilling core values of hard work and determination in their children. When his father was out of work, he would head to the fields south of Seattle to harvest beans. Raines would often accompany him, working alongside his father all day. His earnings from a job at the local grocery store also helped to supplement the family’s income.

In his speeches, Raines often talks about the importance of home ownership. Owning a home allowed his family to meet their basic needs. He tells the story of how his father painstakingly built the family home over a five-year period with accumulated scrap materials salvaged from a home slated for demolition. At that time, his father’s only option as a low-income wage earner was a high-interest loan. There were no special programs or agencies that offered affordable financial assistance. The experience taught Raines important lessons about home ownership and setting goals. When he became chairman of Fannie Mae, in charge of the company’s overall financial policies, his perspective was deepened by his family’s experience. It increased his sensitivity to people’s needs and filled him with a determination to ease the burden of home ownership for low-income wage earners.

Just as his father had to arrange finances and gather materials and all the necessary tools to build his home, so it took education, experience, and integration into the power establishment for Raines to realize his goals. During the early years, he attended predominately black public schools. In high school Raines participated in a wide range of activities from academics to sports. He was captain of the football team, student government president, and a member of the debating team that won the state championship. Although he loved sports, he realized that academics had to be ranked higher. Franklin High School in Seattle, Washington was a racially diverse educational institution with an established tradition of praising student achievements. Raines was privileged to have good teachers and mentors who steered him in the right direction. He graduated with a perfect academic record in 1967. The philosophy espoused by the school was one he embraced and upheld throughout the years.

Raines’s early career plans included law school but winning a scholarship and going to Harvard far exceeded his future expectations. Fortuitously, Harvard was recruiting students from the region to boost the school’s status as a national university. Raines and his family were elated when he was awarded a Harvard national scholarship. During the summers he gained valuable government experience by working in various civic positions in the state of Washington. Raines, a moderate, joined the Young Democrats and the Young Republicans clubs on campus often participating in the rallies and protests on campus. In 1969, he was invited to intern for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who had been one of his college professors. Moynihan was serving in the Nixon administration as the adviser on urban affairs. Raines was asked to survey college campuses and report on the state of antiwar demonstrations. His middle ground centrist approach to the war was not always a popular one on the Harvard campus. He also served that year as a delegate to the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health.

Raines believes that he is fortunate in birth order, as only the three youngest members of his family received a college education. He was the first to graduate from college when he matriculated magna cum laude in government studies from Harvard in 1971. He was a Rhodes scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford University, where he studied for a year. When he returned to the United States, he took a position as associate director of the Seattle Model Cities Program. After a year with the program, he entered Harvard law school, graduating with honors in 1976.

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