Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has died

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

I always liked Fightin' Frank, he was one of the good guys on Capitol Hill. He will be missed. Sen. Frank Lautenberg dies at 89:

Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, a five-term New Jersey Democrat and
reliably liberal voter who campaigned to toughen anti-smoking laws and
environmental regulations, died June 3 at a hospital in New York City.
He was 89.

His office issued a statement confirming the death. He had
complications from viral pneumonia, according to the statement, and had
previously suffered from cancer.

Sen. Lautenberg initially retired in 2000, after three terms, but
returned to the Senate two years later as a 78-year-old freshman
lawmaker who quickly became one of the Bush administration’s sharpest
critics.

From humble roots in a New Jersey mill town, Sen.
Lautenberg made a fortune building Automatic Data Processing, one of the
world’s largest payroll-services companies. A generous Democratic
campaign donor, he entered politics after deciding he might as well
bankroll his own ambitions. “I supported Birch Bayh, Ted Kennedy, Gary
Hart, John Glenn,” he told the Trenton Times in 1982. “I thought, ‘If
I’m willing to support them, why shouldn’t I support myself?’ ”

First
elected in 1982, he built a reputation during his first 18 years in
office as a scrappy politician who thought government had enabled his
own rise to wealth and thus favored expansive federal programs. As chair
of the transportation appropriations subcommittee, the former
two-pack-a-day smoker crusaded against the tobacco industry and in 1989
won a smoking ban on almost all domestic airline flights, a victory that
was credited with opening the way for restrictions on smoking in public
buildings.

He was instrumental in passing laws that raised the
legal drinking age to 21, prohibited domestic-violence convicts from
buying guns and required companies to disclose the chemicals they
release into the environment, an early “right-to-know” provision that
became a model for others.

* * *

Known as a combative legislator who was willing to do whatever it
took to prevail, Sen. Lautenberg was unapologetic about his elbows-out
approach.

“Gladiator sports are in,” he said in 1988. “I’m not
saying I approve. I’m saying that a lot of people like their politics
the way they like their hockey: rough.”

Sen. Frank Lautenberg was the last World War II veteran in the Senate and the chamber’s oldest member.

So what happnes next? N.J. Gov. Christie to select appointee to temporarily fill seat:

Lautenberg had already announced that he would not seek another term
in 2014, with Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) emerging as the odds-on
favorite to replace him.

Lautenberg’s death means his seat will be filled temporarily by an
appointee selected by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). And in
addition to holding an election for a full term in 2014, there also will
be a special election for the seat later this year
.

Christie has broad authority on setting the date for the special
election. New Jersey is already holding a gubernatorial and state
legislative election on Nov. 5, with the primaries being held June 4.

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