Transportation Labor Mourns the Loss of Sen. Frank Lautenberg

By MarEx 2013-06-03 15:50:00

Photo: Senator Lautenberg meets with former Senator Chuck Hagel on his nomination for Secretary of Defense (January 24, 2013)

United States Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, the last remaining World War II veteran serving in the Senate, passed away due to complications from viral pneumonia at 4:02 a.m. today at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell.  He was 89 years old.

Senator Lautenberg was a long-time leader on environmental protection, transportation and protecting public health.

Senator Lautenberg was born the son of immigrants and grew up poor in Paterson, New Jersey. He enlisted in the military at the age of 18 and served in the Army in Europe during World War II.  Upon returning home, he graduated from Columbia University with the help of the G.I. Bill.  He joined with two boyhood friends to found Automatic Data Processing (ADP), which today employees 57,000 people worldwide and 4,500 in New Jersey.  He left the business world to pursue a career in public service and give back to the country that helped give him so much. 

Sen. Lautenberg was the last World War II veteran serving in the U.S. Senate and held the record for the number of votes cast by a New Jersey Senator.

Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) President Edward Wytkind issues this statement on the passing of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.):

“It is with a heavy heart that we mourn the loss of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a stalwart proponent of a vibrant and safe transportation system and a tireless advocate of the men and woman who work in this vital sector of our economy.

“Whether leading the charge to enhance transportation safety and security, secure funding for necessary transportation investments or defend basic collective bargaining rights on the Senate floor, transportation workers knew they had a friend in Frank Lautenberg. 

“In the area of transportation safety and security there was no greater champion than Senator Lautenberg. He understood that our government has a sacred obligation to ensure that workers come home safely every day and he served to fulfill this responsibility.

“Senator Lautenberg hailed from a state that needed a modern, interconnected transportation system to thrive and he brought this perspective to the policy debates in Washington. He was a relentless supporter of long-term federal funding for our multi-modal transportation system and kept Washington honest when some politicians attempted to roll back critically important public investments.

“When super storm Sandy ravaged the Northeast, Senator Lautenberg went to work to make sure the federal government did its part to rebuild our ports, airports, roads and transit and rail systems. And in the process he brought hope to a region that had lost so much.

“On a personal level, I will miss Frank Lautenberg’s friendship and common sense approach to these often complicated issues. We will honor the legacy of this great public servant by continuing to fight for the jobs and rights of transportation employees.”