Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) released the following statement following the passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg:
"With the passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey has lost an icon who truly lived the American Dream. Born of poor immigrants, he was an incredible person, businessman, and public servant. Senator Lautenberg never forgot his roots as he tirelessly dedicated his life to helping the people of New Jersey and making our great state a better place to live.
"Thanks to Senator Lautenberg, we have cleaner air to breathe and water to drink. Our airports and highways have been improved and are more secure. As a result of his accomplished work on gun safety, he has made our neighborhoods a safer place for our families and our children to work and live. Even though the late Senator did not get to witness the passage of legislation that would require background checks on gun purchases -- a cause he championed -- the fight in Washington will continue to carry out his vision to ensure that no one who is a criminal, a terrorist, or dangerously mentally ill will ever get their hands on guns.
"Although I only had the honor of working with Senator Lautenberg in Congress briefly, he has always been a role model to me and a friend of my family. I am thankful for his tremendous guidance in helping me as a new member of Congress and for his partnership on issues like raising awareness about colorectal cancer and providing grant funding to the Newark Fire Department to hire more firefighters in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
"New Jerseyans owe a great debt of gratitude to the late Senator. My condolences and prayers go out to his wife, Bonnie, and his family during this time. Senator Lautenberg will certainly be missed."