U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) issued the following statement Monday on the passing of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).
"Frank Lautenberg lived a life of service dedicated to his nation and the state of New Jersey. The last veteran of World War II serving in the Senate, Senator Lautenberg fought to increase benefits for veterans and ensure we treat our men and women in uniform with the respect and honor they deserve. He was also a powerful voice for families, leading the charge to help reduce drunk driving and keep people safe from second-hand smoke, and I was fortunate to work with him on efforts to keep dangerous chemicals out of household products. With Senator Lautenberg's passing, the Senate has lost a strong leader and wise friend, and he will be missed by his colleagues and country."
Lautenberg died Monday morning of complications from viral pneumonia. He was 89 years old.
First elected to the Senate in 1982, Lautenberg was the last surviving World War II veteran in the Senate and the chamber's senior member. During his tenure, Lautenberg cast more votes than any other senator from New Jersey.
Lautenberg was best known for advocating federal restrictions on tobacco use. Most notably, he authored the landmark 1987 law that banned smoking on airplanes. And 21 years later, he led the push to close the Senate "smoking rooms."