Payne Pays Tribute to the Life and Legacy of Senator Frank Lautenberg

Jun 11, 2013 Issues: Local Issues

Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. said the following in tribute to the late senator, Senator Frank Lautenberg:

"I want to thank my colleague, Congressman Smith, for hosting this special order today. Mr. Speaker, I come before you today, saddened by the passing of a fellow New Jerseyan – and my dear friend and colleague – the honorable and venerated Senior Senator from New Jersey, Senator Frank Lautenberg. 
 
"If anyone could embody the actual definition of the American Dream, it would be Frank Lautenberg.  Born the son of Russian and Polish immigrants in Paterson, New Jersey, he grew up during the Great Depression. When war hit our shores, he bravely served the country he loved in World War II, and was the last of our Senators to do so. When he returned home from war, Senator Lautenberg earned his degree on the GI Bill – which he later staunchly advocated for the extension of, for our current men and women in uniform. And never taking for granted the opportunities that lay before him – after his graduation – he and some of his friends with just an idea and an entrepreneurial spirit began an extremely successful company – ADP.  If you get a payroll check, it’s likely that ADP – and Senator Lautenberg – had something to do with it.
 
"I guess you could say that Senator Lautenberg was proof that anything is possible if you firmly believe in what you are doing and you put your mind to it. Later, he seamlessly transitioned from CEO to public servant – often demonstrating the determination, grit, and leadership throughout his time in office that came to define Frank Lautenberg. 
 
"Throughout his five terms in office, Senator Lautenberg never forgot his roots. He was a committed advocate for the working and middle class that he was a product of.  As Senator Lautenberg knew best, “We've got to open new doors, not slam them shut.” And he always practiced this outlook no matter what he set to achieve. He tirelessly worked to make health insurance and higher education more affordable for working and middle class families like his own. Even into his later years, Senator Lautenberg was one of the leading progressives on social issues. Thanks to Senator Lautenberg and his tremendous environmental work, we have cleaner water to drink, and cleaner air to breathe. 
 
"He also recognized early on the proliferation of gun violence in our communities and the damage it was doing to our children and families. As a champion of gun safety legislation, he made our neighborhoods a safer place to work and live.  And nothing was going to keep Senator Lautenberg from casting a critical vote on background checks on gun purchases this past spring. Though the late Senator did not get to witness the successful passage of this legislation – the fight in Washington will continue as we work to carry out Senator Lautenberg’s vision to keep our families and our children safer. 
 
"In closing, I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Bonnie, the children, and grandchildren. I had the honor of attending Senator Lautenberg’s final tribute last week, and it was clear from that beautiful ceremony the incredible impact Senator Lautenberg has had on so many lives. Senator Frank Lautenberg had a love of life and a commitment to the people of New Jersey that will be deeply missed in the halls of Congress and in New Jersey. He was a great mentor to me, especially as the newest member of New Jersey’s delegation. I will forever be grateful for his guidance and for all the tremendous work he did for New Jersey and for our great nation. We owe him an immense debt of gratitude for making New Jersey a better place to live. There is no doubt, Senator Lautenberg will certainly be missed."