Frank Lautenberg: remembrances from officials - New York News

Frank Lautenberg: remembrances from officials

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U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (official U.S. Senate photo) U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (official U.S. Senate photo)
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After U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., died Monday morning, dozens of officials released statements about the political icon's passing. Here are a few of those statements.

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.

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U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.

Today I am shaken by the loss of the Senior Senator from New Jersey – a colleague and my good friend and ally. Frank Lautenberg loved his job and the people who elected him 5 times, who trusted him to always be on their side, and he always was. He was a man for New Jersey, a man for his time, one of the greatest generation, the last in the Senate to have served in World War II.

His story was an American story. He was a man who joined two of his boyhood friends to found a successful business. He did well, and gave something back and New Jersey loved and admired him for what he did for this nation, what he did to help them build a better life for themselves and their families. Whether it was his landmark drunk driving law, the 21st Century GI Bill, or the "Toxic Right to Know" law empowering the public to know what pollutants are being released into their neighborhood, he was a fighter for New Jersey's working families and the causes he believed in. And, in death, New Jersey's love and admiration for him will not diminish. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Bonnie and his family.

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Newark Mayor Cory A. 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.

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State Sen. Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex County

I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Frank Lautenberg. Senator Lautenberg exemplified the American spirit and his commitment and devotion to the country he loved was unmatched. He always answered the call to serve – first as a soldier in the United States Army during World War II and later as Senator in the United States Senate representing the people of New Jersey. Senator Lautenberg always stood up for the principles he believed in and fought everyday to improve the lives of everyday New Jerseyans. Frank Lautenberg was an American hero and an icon in New Jersey, and he will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers are with the Lautenberg family during this difficult time.

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Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer

I am very saddened to hear the news of Senator Lautenberg's passing. I had the great honor to work with him on everything from a rally on Pier A for marriage equality to advocating for Hoboken after Hurricane Sandy. He was a true public servant and a friend of Hoboken. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues. Flags are flying at half-mast in Hoboken today in his honor.

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N.J. 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 thirty years, in the United States Senate, and so today is a sad day for the people of New Jersey.

Whenever we lose someone who's committed to public service and has been an honest and dedicated public servant as Senator Lautenberg was it's a loss for everyone. Most particularly it's a loss for his wife Bonnie and his family, and so our thoughts and prayers are with them today because whatever loss we feel as New Jerseyans and whatever loss his colleagues feel in the United States Senate is minuscule compared to the loss that his family feels, his loved ones, and so I think it would be inappropriate for me to give any other speech today except to ask all of you to pray for the Lautenberg family today, to pray for the soul of Senator Lautenberg, and to give a prayer of thanks for his service to individual New Jerseyans and to our country.

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State Sen. Joe Kyrillos, R-Monmouth County

Senator Lautenberg was a fighter over the course of three decades of public service for the people of New Jersey and the nation. He rose from humble beginnings to serve in the armed forces, start a successful business and represent us in the U.S. Senate. He lived a great American life and has my admiration and respect. Susan and I send our condolences to the Lautenberg family.

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State Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr.

America has lost a true New Jerseyan who dedicated his life to public service. Until his last days, the resolute Senator served New Jersey honorably, fighting to bring home Superstorm Sandy recovery funding for families and small business owners. Senator Lautenberg was a consistent leader and a man of his convictions. May Frank Lautenberg rest in peace, and let his family know we are praying for them.

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U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

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.

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U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

Frank Lautenberg was the very best of the greatest generation. He grew up poor, served his nation bravely during World War II, led a company that created tens of thousands of jobs, and spent the second half of his life giving back via public service. And, boy, did he give back a lot. Our transportation system in the Northeast and the nation would not be as up-to-date and efficient were it not for Frank. And countless people are alive today because of his fight against smoking and Big Tobacco. He was a relentless warrior for common sense gun safety legislation, and so much more. The list of his accomplishments would take many pages. Frank was a close and loyal friend who never put on airs and said what he thought, when he thought it. And he had one of the most endearing senses of humor ever possessed by any public servant. We knew he was ill, but his passing is still a gut shot to those of us who knew and loved him. I am a better person for having known him and America is a better place for having benefitted from his long and rich service.

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Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

I was very saddened to learn of the passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg, the last World War II veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate. Frank was a good friend and respected colleague. He was a strong advocate for the men and women of our armed forces and their military families, and America's veterans. He was a member of America's "greatest generation." His passion and his leadership will be missed. Lilibet and my thoughts and prayers, as well as all of us at the Department of Defense, are with Bonnie and his family. 

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Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club Jeff Tittel

Senator Lautenberg left behind a great legacy of protecting our environment. He has been an environmental champion. He is someone who has worked tirelessly to protect the environment here in New Jersey and across the country. We have worked very closely with Senator Lautenberg on everything from preservation of Sterling Forest, protection of our beaches from offshore drilling, cleaning up toxic sites, chemical security and climate change. He has always been in the forefront in protecting our environment and has truly been our environmental Senator.

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Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin

Senator Lautenberg was a beacon for equality in Congress. He fought for justice with more than simply his vote. He knew bullying in our schools is a scourge, and he stood up to end it. He knew that workplace discrimination and hate crimes erode the freedom of all Americans, so he worked to stop them, session after session.

Nothing better sums up his undying legacy than his 2004 floor speech opposing a federal constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. 'When we see things that are shameful we should not be too spineless to respond.' Senator Lautenberg had spine, and he will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends, family, colleagues and the many across New Jersey and across this country who knew and loved him.

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American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, AFT New Jersey President Donna Chiera, and Health Professionals and Allied Employees President Ann Twomey

Sen. Lautenberg's work to make America better, safer and healthier will be his lasting legacy. He was a longtime friend of labor and public employees, coming to Congress after a successful business career but never forgetting his family's working-class union roots. He not only talked the talk about workers' rights and voice, but he walked the walk, literally, joining picket lines when nurses had exhausted all other avenues. We will always be grateful for Sen. Lautenberg's stalwart support of public schools, institutions of higher education, and their educators and staff. He took the time to learn from urban educators about their need for more resources, the damaging consequences for students of teacher layoffs, and the need for safe, new schools; he advocated for them relentlessly. To keep communities safe, he was the original sponsor of an assault weapons ban, vigorously supported expanded background checks, and wrote the law prohibiting domestic violence perpetrators from owning guns. Those who fly can thank Sen. Lautenberg for the ban on smoking on airplanes.

Sen. Lautenberg was a role model as a fierce advocate for core democratic values, and he will be missed very much.

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