A member of the SPD since 1976, he has been active in various party bodies. From 1985, he was able to gather practical experience in municipal politics as a municipal representative in Edermünde and, from 1997, as a city counsellor in Gudensberg.
After a short term of employment at a legal firm, he went on to work for the National Association of Occupational Accident Insurance Funds. There, he started off heading up an expert group on public law and later became the rector and a professor at the University of the German Statutory Accident Insurance in Bad Hersfeld.
From 1 September 1999 up to the federal elections in 2009, he was the directly elected mayor of the city of Gudensberg. In 2005, he was re-elected with over 90% of the votes.
Since 2009, he has been directly elected four times in succession as the Bundestag representative. From 2014 to 2017, Edgar Franke was Chairman of the Health Committee in the Bundestag. In 2018, he became the deputy health policy spokesperson of the SDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag and continued to serve in this office until 2021.
Since 8 December 2021, Prof. Edgar Franke has been Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Health.