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Retiring Sen. Lautenberg Praised By Senate Colleague Schumer

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) presides over a hering on 'Superstorm Sandy: The Devastating Impact on the Nation's Largest Transportation Systems.' December 6, 2012 in Washington. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) presides over a hering on ‘Superstorm Sandy: The Devastating Impact on the Nation’s Largest Transportation Systems.’ December 6, 2012 in Washington. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) received praise from some of his Senate colleagues, after announcing that he will not run for reelection until 2014.

“Senator Lautenberg was a close friend of mine, and I’m going to miss him badly,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)

As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, Schumer said Lautenberg put his heart and his principles into his work.

“He had passion,” Schumer said. “He was not one of those people who just put his finger toward the wind and figured the political angles,” Schumer said.

And Schumer said Lautenberg is still effective.

“He’s 89, but he’s a very young 89,” Lautenberg said.

Schumer said whether it was banning smoking on airplanes, or funding Amtrak, or lowering the threshold for drunken driving, Lautenberg worked to make things better.

On Thursday, Lautenberg announced that he will not seek reelection in 2014.

“I am not announcing a retirement,” Lautenberg said the following day. “I am announcing today I will be continuing on my mission to do the right thing wherever I can.”

He was first elected to the Senate in 1982 and served five terms, retiring in 2000. Two years later, he was elected again and re-elected in 2008. Lautenberg is the last World War II veteran in the Senate.

He will be 90 when his term ends in 2015.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)