As Ross noted, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has died at age 89 of complications from viral pneumonia, according to his office. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will select a temporary appointee to fill his seat, and later this year there will be a special election.
Lautenberg was the last of the World War II veterans in Congress, after the retirement of Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) in December. Some of his notable accomplishments include authoring a bill that banned smoking on flights, which kicked off a flurry of anti-smoking legislation, pushing for stricter impaired driving laws, and supporting raising the drinking age to 21.
Lautenberg is also known for his pro-gun control stance. After having missed a month of Senate activity due to muscle fatigue, he made a comeback in mid-April to vote for several gun control bills, where he was famously brought into the Senate floor in a wheelchair.
Despite having retired in 2000, he revived his Senate career two years later after his bitter rival, Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ), was forced to drop out of the 2002 election for having allegedly accepted bribes. With only five weeks to go in the race, he entered and won, and won again in 2008 at the age of 84.
He served on the Senate Committee on Appropriations; Commerce, Science and Transportation; and Environment and Public Works – and as chairman for the latter two.
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