After returning from service in the U.S. Navy and Michigan Law School, Lou Frey began his public service from 1961 to 1963 as Assistant County Solicitor in Orange County, Florida. In 1964, he became Chairman of the Orange County Young Republicans and Chairman of the Youth for Goldwater. In 1965 Lou Frey was elected Chairman of the State Young Republicans and started the first Teenage Republican Clubs in Florida. He used the State Young Republican organization to take over the State Republican Party in 1966, and became its Treasurer. This was the first time in Florida that the Republicans had party leadership dedicated to electing Republicans throughout the State. In 1966, he was one of the leaders of the campaign that elected Claude Kirk as the First Republican Governor in close to one hundred years. He was General Counsel of the Florida Turnpike Authority in 1966 and 1967.
Lou Frey was urged to run for Congress in 1967 even though he was relatively unknown in a 3 to 1 Democrat district, and had never held an elective public office. Over a period of 13 months, his campaign took him to 30,000 doors in the Congressional district. With little money, but with the help and support of many of these people, Lou Frey won a seat in the United States Congress by 65% of the vote. He was the fourth Republican elected to Congress since the late 1800’s. As a result of his dedication and hard work, he was elected to five consecutive terms. In his last term, he won by nearly 80% of the vote. He retired undefeated from the Congress in 1979. He was a candidate for the U.S. Senate and Governor in Florida.
During his ten years in Congress, Lou Frey became recognized nationwide as an outstanding Legislator. He served on the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee, the Science and Technology Committee, and the Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. He was the first Chairman of the Republican Task Force on Drug Abuse. He authored, with George Bush and Bill Brock, the report on Youth of America which became the basis for the 18-year-old vote and the college loan program. Lou Frey was named by Time magazine as one of the 200 “Rising Leaders in America.” Life magazine named him as “A Hope for Congress.” He was elected to the Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. He received the Watch Dog of the Treasury Award and the Guardian of Small Business Award in each term. He was named to Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World 2004-2013 (Marquis Publications).
Lou Frey’s legislative efforts touched the lives of people both in his district and the country:
- Sponsored the Balance Budget Resolution
- Introduced and helped to pass legislation prohibiting dumping toxic wastes in the oceans
- Co-managed the Space Shuttle Program on the floor of Congress
- Authored the Drug Pusher Elimination Act
- Introduced legislation aimed at helping families suffering catastrophic illnesses
- Introduced and helped to pass legislation which set safety standards for mobile homes
- Sponsored a bill to allow tuition tax credits for higher education.
- Co-sponsored major legislation on cancer research
- Helped pass The Clean Water and Clean Air Act
- Wrote and helped pass the Federal Noxious Weed Act
Specifically to Florida:
- Helped to keep the Naval Training Device Center in Orlando rather than having it moved to Pensacola
- Because of his vision and leadership, when it became apparent in the early 1970’s that McCoy Air Force Base would be closed, Congressman Frey successfully appealed to President Nixon to let the City of Orlando take over the property for $1.00 and turn it into a commercial airfield, now the Orlando International Airport and one of the busiest airports in the world.
- Together with Congressman Don Fuqua (D-FL) and Senator Ed Gurney (R-FL), fought effectively to make Kennedy Space Center the home base of the Space Shuttle and to keep Patrick Air Force Base open
- With Congressman Bill Chappell (D-FL) created Spessard Holland Sea Shore Park
- Started a senior citizen transportation system in Orlando
- Had the most appointments to the military academies of any Congressman in the country in the late 1970’s
- Obtained a new Federal Courthouse in Orlando
- Established the high school intern program
- Obtained the second VA clinic in the nation for the district
Lou Frey continues to teach in high schools and colleges on a voluntary basis and makes many speeches to civic clubs. He has edited and written two books on the Congress. The first is Inside the House: Former Members Reveal How Congress Really Works. The second, out this year, is Political Rules of the Road: Representatives, Senators and Presidents Share their Rules for Success in Congress, Politics and Life. Frey has continued to be involved in the political world including being the State Chairman for President Ford, Co-Chairman of the Former Members of Congress for Ronald Reagan, National Finance Committee member for George Bush, State Co-Chairman of the Dole Campaign and National and State Finance Committee member of the George W. Bush Campaigns. Frey has been a delegate or alternate delegate to many Republican Conventions since 1968. He is the Founder of the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government at the University of Central Florida ( HYPERLINK “http://www.LouFrey.org” www.LouFrey.org). This Institute, in a few short years, has become one of the most important in the nation. The Frey Institute has semi-annual symposiums with average attendance of over 1,000 in person and 100,000 over the Internet. Some recent symposiums were: (1) Homeland Security or Police State; (2) The U.S. and the U.N.: Building Block or Stumbling Block for American Foreign Policy; (3) The Impact of Watergate: A 30-year Retrospective; (4) The Space Program: Past and Future, Public or Private (5) Money and Politics: Are Elections for Sale; (6) Church and State: Blurring the Line; (7) A Day With the Florida Governors; (8) U.S. Immigration Policy: Open Borders or Closed Doors; (9) Environmental Policy: Issues, Concerns and Solutions; (10) Presidential Elections: The Road to the White House 2008; ; (11) The Road to the White House: Tough Choices; (12) Considering the Middle East: Politics, Issues, and Solutions; and (13) The First 100 Days: Policies and Approaches for the New Administration (14) New Generation New Economy New Opportunities.
You might say that he has always been a participant, never a spectator. Above all, he is someone who cares about his community, his state and his country.