WASHINGTON – Frank Lautenberg served three six-year terms in the Senate representing New Jersey before retiring in 2000.
After winning his seat in office in 1982, Lautenberg launched a full career in which he championed Democratic policy and took a particular interest in environmental issues. He helped to author the Superfund, Clean Air and Safe Drinking Water Acts.
As a ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, he co-authored the Balanced Budget Agreement of 1997.
On trade, the senator was a supporter of giving China permanent normal trade relations status in 2000, giving the then-President Clinton fast track authority and expanding trade into the third world.
On social policy, Lautenberg authored laws banning smoking on commercial airplanes and public buildings, establishing the national drinking age at 21 and making it illegal for anyone convicted of domestic violence to own a gun. He voted repeatedly against the welfare overhaul, to increase the minimum wage and in favor of hate crime legislation to include sexual orientation.
Born in Paterson, N.J., Lautenberg, 78, served in the U.S. Army before graduating with a degree in economics from Columbia University on the G.I. Bill in 1949. He founded Automatic Data Processing, now a worldwide payroll services provider, and served as its CEO from 1975 to 1982.