Mr. NELSON. Madam President, I was greatly saddened to learn about the passing of Senator Lautenberg on Monday. I was fortunate to serve with Senator Lautenberg on the Commerce Committee. His life was about public service, plain and simple.
Frank was a great example of the American Dream. Over the past few days we have all heard Frank's story of being born into a Russian and Polish immigrant family, and working his way from humble beginnings to a prosperous career as a chief executive in the private sector. But Frank's true calling was public service and giving back to his community, his State, and our Nation throughout his life. As a young man, he served our country in the U.S. Army in WWII and went to Columbia University on the GI bill.
In Congress, Frank fought to create economic opportunity for all Americans by supporting our public infrastructure. He was a staunch advocate for passenger rail and Amtrak. Frank's achievements on transportation issues were not only concerned with promoting commerce, but also public safety. His work to ban smoking on domestic flights and combat drunk driving has saved countless lives.
Frank also fought side-by-side with me on the Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee to make sure that critical NASA safety research was being shared with the commercial aviation industry to help protect members of the flying public.
Florida and New Jersey are very different States, but they share a coastline. After the Deepwater Horizon spill devastated the Gulf, I worked with him to stop offshore drilling until more was known about what caused that tragedy. Frank was also a trusted ally in securing essential funding to keep our beaches clean and water safe for people to enjoy.
Frank was a crucial supporter of many other important environmental causes. He fought to keep our oceans clean by pushing for a ``double-hull'' standard for oil tankers, banning ocean dumping, and taking other steps to promote better water quality. He also sponsored legislation to crackdown on companies that release dangerous toxins into the air and water, and make polluters pay for their toxic mess. Frank was a great champion for the environment.
As the last WW II veteran in the Senate, we lost a true hero on Monday and one of this body's last members of the Greatest Generation.