Frank Raleigh Lautenberg (born January 23, 1924) is an American politician. He is a member of the Democratic Party and is a United States Senator from New Jersey serving from 1983 to 2001 and since 2003.
The son of poor but hard-working Polish and Russian immigrants, Lautenberg was born in Paterson, New Jersey and served in the United States Army in World War II after graduating high school. Then, financed by the GI Bill, he attended and graduated from Columbia University with a degree in economics in 1949. He co-founded the successful Automatic Data Processing Company (ADP) and was its president. He was commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from 1978 to 1982.
In 1982 he received the Democratic nomination for a US senate seat from New Jersey for that year's election. At the time the seat was occupied by Democrat Harrison Williams, but he resigned in 1982 after he was implicated in the Abscam scandal.
Lautenberg won the election, defeating popular Republican congresswoman Millicent Fenwick. He was reelected in 1988 and again in the Republican landslide year of 1994. He announced his retirement in 2000, and his fellow Democrat and businessman, Jon Corzine, was elected to replace him. Lautenberg unexpectedly returned to politics in 2002, when the other New Jersey senator, Democrat Robert Torricelli, withdrew his candidacy for reelection because of corruption charges, and Lautenberg was drafted to take his place despite his advanced age. It was rumored, however, that Lautenberg was the second choice to run, the first choice being former Senator Bill Bradley, who turned it down. The New Jersey Republican Party challenged the replacement of Torricelli's name on the ballot with Lautenberg's, arguing that it came too late according to state election laws. The ballot name change was upheld by the New Jersey State Supreme Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up case. Lautenberg won the election, thus becoming one of very few people in recent times to return to the Senate after leaving it.
Lautenberg is well-known as a liberal. He is pro-choice, supports gun control, has introduced many bills increasing penalties for carjacking and car theft, and has criticized the Bush administration on national security issues. He also is known for authoring the Ryan White Act which provides services to AIDS patients.
Nicholas F. Brady
|U.S. Senator (Class 1) from New Jersey|
|U.S. Senator (Class 2) from New Jersey|