Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement upon learning that Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) had passed away:
"It is hard to think of the Senate without my friend and colleague, Senator Frank Lautenberg. In addition to sharing the same birthday, Frank and I often shared the dais of the Environment and Public Works Committee, where we sat next to one another and worked together to clean up our nation's dirty air and improve our environment. We shared a passion for clean air because we both represent states whose residents, because of a concentration of downwind air pollution, face a heightened risk of chronic lung diseases like asthma, which tragically took his sister's life over 30 years ago and drove Frank's passion for protecting the air we breathe. Frank also led congressional efforts to regulate toxic substances, and after years of gridlock, his leadership recently helped achieve a bipartisan breakthrough toward reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). As frequent if not daily riders of Amtrak, Frank and I also shared a passion for passenger rail. I remember one of our first conversations, over 20 years ago, focusing on the need for robust passenger rail, especially in our home states. Frank was instrumental in helping Amtrak get through its toughest days, and in fact one of the reasons interstate passenger rail is strong and growing is because of his tireless support.
"From his youth to today, Frank Lautenberg devoted his life to public service. The year after he graduated from high school, Frank joined the Army and served overseas during World War II. For 30 years, he saw success in business before yet another call to public service in the United States Senate, where he served for much of the past 30 years until his passing today. Frank was an inspiration to us all by speeding up when many of us would be slowing down, even continuing to ski black diamond trails well into his 80s. His vigor, passion and pluck permeated everything Frank did -- in work and in life. I am saddened for his wife Bonnie, for his six children and 13 grandchildren, and for my state's neighbor -- New Jersey -- as they grieve the loss of their husband, father and greatest champion."