United States Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey died Monday at the age of 89. Read reaction to his death from Washington, New Jersey and social media.

President Barack Obama (D)

Senator Frank Lautenberg with Barack Obama (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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.

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D)

“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.”

Senate President Steve Sweeney

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) (YouTube)

“Senator Lautenberg was a dedicated public servant who fought vigorously for the people of New Jersey. He leaves behind an amazing legacy of pushing for the rights of the working poor and middle class. While a man of means, he never, ever lost sight of helping working people. He will be missed. We have lost a true leader.”

Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic)

“This is a sad day for New Jersey. Our state has lost one of its most dedicated public servants and a dear friend to us all.

“It's hard to imagine New Jersey without Frank Lautenberg advocating for the issues important to us all. His energy was relentless. His intellect was sharp. His work ethic was an example to us all.

“I will miss Sen. Lautenberg and his guidance, leadership and friendship.

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D)

“This is a sad loss for everyone, especially working people, women, minorities and the underprivileged. He was a true friend to those in need and a fierce fighter for the causes that would allow them to share in the opportunities of a country that I know he loved. And he was a true friend of mine who provided personal support as well as political allegiance on issues of importance to us both. We worked together to help end gun violence, to crack down on drunk drivers and to ban indoor smoking, among many shared goals.

“Over a long career of service to others he never wavered in his commitment to the principles and priorities that he believed were so important to all Americans. He fought for their needs, for their rights and for their equal opportunities with fierce determination. He was a real street fighter from Paterson who carried with him the ability and the willingness to stand up for his beliefs.

“Frank Lautenberg was a true political lion who embodied the best qualities of the ‘greatest generation’ of Americans. We will miss him but his legacy will live on, providing guidance and inspiration.”


New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington)

Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (NJ Assembly Democrats - Facebook)

"As a legislator, Sen. Lautenberg led in passing vital legislation: banning smoking on airplanes, improving services for people living with HIV/AIDS and preventing domestic abusers from obtaining firearms. “As a leader, he was never afraid to fight for what he believed in or to stand up for the needs of New Jersey.

"His presence in the U.S. Senate and in our state will truly be missed. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Sen. Lautenberg's family during this difficult time."

State Senator Barbara Buono and Democrat candidate for governor (D)

“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.”

 Senator Dick Codey (R)

“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.”

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.”

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R)

“Our state has lost a dedicated servant who served in Congress for almost 30 years. We appreciate his service to New Jersey and the United States. On behalf of Assembly Republican caucus, I wish to offer our sincerest condolences to his wife, Bonnie, their children and grandchildren.”

Congressman Jon Runyan (R)

“I am deeply saddened to hear that New Jersey’s senior senator, Frank Lautenberg, has passed away. Senator Lautenberg was a loyal public servant who spent nearly 30 years working tirelessly on behalf of the people of New Jersey. As our last serving World War II veteran in the United States Senate, Mr. Lautenberg had an unwavering commitment to serving our state and country. He was a statesman, committed public servant, and was among the finest of the “Greatest Generation.”

Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (R)

“My wife Tina and I extend our deepest sympathies to Senator Lautenberg’s family, who served New Jersey with distinction and honor. I often looked to partnering with Senator Lautenberg on critical issues for our state, whether it was fighting to keep the FAA Technical Center and the Coast Guard Training Center in South Jersey or protecting beach projects vital to our coastal communities. I was proud to call Frank Lautenberg a friend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Lautenberg family, his staff and all New Jersey residents who lost a true champion.”

Congressman Rush Holt (D)

Rush Holt (Facebook)

This is a personal loss as well as a loss for New Jersey and the country. I don't think there will ever again be anybody quite like Frank Lautenberg. “Frank came from humble beginnings, and he never forgot that. The GI Bill sent him to Columbia University, and he always felt grateful for that and felt a need to pay back. “Much will be said about his accomplishments: keeping trains and buses safe, promoting public health, safeguarding chemical plants, keeping cigarettes out of planes, and more. But what stands out in my mind is what Frank did to prevent drunk driving. As part of his transportation work, he established limits on blood alcohol levels. Today you could fill several football stadiums with people who are alive only because of Frank Lautenberg – and not one of them knows who they are. “Frank was dogged; he was persistent. His colleagues in the Senate would sometimes laugh or smile about that: ‘Here comes Frank again to try to twist our arms.’ They liked him. Frank did his homework; he knew what he was talking about, and he just kept fighting. “Frank and I worked together on a number of things, so I feel this loss very personally. Frank, we miss you, but your ideas and your legacy live on.”

Congressman Frank Pallone (D)

“I am deeply saddened by the news of Senator Lautenberg’s passing.  I have known Senator Lautenberg for decades and I have been honored to call him a colleague and friend.  My heart and thoughts go out to his wife Bonnie, his children and grandchildren. “Frank Lautenberg was a moral guidepost on so many critical issues.  As a leader in the U.S. Senate, his impact was felt on some of the most important issues facing New Jersey and our nation.  His work on issues like gun violence prevention, improving our nation’s transit systems and transportation infrastructure, making Americans healthier through anti-smoking initiatives, and rebuilding our state after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy will be recognized for generations.  Senator Lautenberg’s dedication to public service was evident in everything he did from his military service, to his philanthropic work, to his time in the U.S. Senate.  Frank Lautenberg’s life defined public service and what it means to live the American dream. “Senator Lautenberg has been at the forefront of some of the most important movements to protect our environment, an issue critical to New Jersey and the nation.  I witnessed his commitment to environmental stewardship firsthand when we worked together on legislation to address inequities in the Superfund system so we can better clean up toxic sites throughout the state.  Senator Lautenberg and I also worked together to champion the issue of keeping our waterways clean and safe when we introduced the BEACH Act. “Like all New Jerseyans, I am grateful for Senator Lautenberg’s service to our state and our nation.  I will miss him deeply and I will do my best to continue working on the issues that were so important to both of us.”