NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Friends, colleagues and others are remembering U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died early Monday due to complications from viral pneumonia. He was 89 years old.
Many remembered the nation’s oldest senator and last World War II veteran in the Senate as a dedicated public servant who fought for the people of New Jersey.
President Barack Obama
“Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg, a proud New Jerseyan who lived America’s promise as a citizen, and fought to keep that promise alive as a senator.
“The son of working-class immigrants, Frank joined the Army during World War II, went to college on the GI Bill, and co-founded one of America’s most successful companies. First elected to the Senate in 1982, he improved the lives of countless Americans with his commitment to our nation’s health and safety, from improving our public transportation to protecting citizens from gun violence to ensuring that members of our military and their families get the care they deserve. Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences to Bonnie, the Lautenberg family, and the people of New Jersey, whom Frank served so well.”
Gov. Chris Christie
“It’s no mystery that Senator Lautenberg and I didn’t always agree. In fact, it probably is more honest to say we very often didn’t agree, and we had some pretty good fights between us over time – battles on philosophy and the role of government, but never was Senator Lautenberg to be underestimated as an advocate for the causes that he believed in and as an adversary in the political world.
“I think the best way to describe Frank Lautenberg in the way he would probably want to be described to all of you today is as a fighter. Senator Lautenberg fought for the things he believed in and sometimes he just fought because he liked to. He always reminded me that he was a kid from Paterson whose father died at a very young age, who served in the military and served his country, and then built a business which he was extraordinarily proud of, just as proud of his time at ADP as he was of his many years, nearly 30 years in the United States Senate, and so today is a sad day for the people of New Jersey.”
Newark Mayor Cory Booker
“Today, the American people lost a true champion. For three decades, Senator Frank Lautenberg worked to make America a stronger, healthier and safer place to live. His legacy will endure for generations.
“Senator Lautenberg was a model of leadership and service to me since before I even considered entering elected office. He was a passionate advocate for New Jersey and a crucial and tireless partner who always delivered for the people of Newark. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Lautenberg family.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
“I am saddened by the loss of my dear friend and colleague Senator Frank Lautenberg and my heart goes out to his wife and family. Frank was a true champion for those who need a voice in Washington. I am honored to have had the privilege to fight side-by-side to secure health care for our 9/11 first responders, ensure federal support for the families and businesses devastated by Superstorm Sandy, strengthen our gun laws, and reform chemical safety laws. We have lost a remarkable fighter and wonderful man. His voice will be sorely missed in the halls on Congress.”
Sen. Richard Codey
“New Jersey has lost one of its strongest and most accomplished leaders. Frank Lautenberg was a man of principled determination who never backed down from fighting for what was right. From the battlefields of the Second World War to the halls of the United States Senate, he served the country and the people of New Jersey with selfless honor and distinction.
“He was passionate in his beliefs and compassionate in his commitment to those in need. He fought for working people and he stood up for the disenfranchised and he was a leader on issues of importance, from anti-smoking and drunk driving laws to domestic abuse, gun safety and the 21st Century GI Bill of Rights.
“We are a better country, a better state and a better people because of his service.”
Rep. Bill Pascrell
“He was a friend and I hope he considered me to be a friend to him,” Pascrell told WCBS 880’s Pat Farnack. “His loss is just immeasurable. It’s taken its toll already.