Frank LautenbergFrank 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.
A New Jersey native and the son of poor but hard-working Polish and Russian immigrants, he served in the army in World War II after graduating high school. Then, financed by the GI Bill, he attended and graduated from Columbia University in New York City, with a degree in economics in 1949. he became a successful businessman. He was commissioner of the New York City port authority 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 that time the seat was occupied by a Republican, but its occupant, Harrison Williams, resigned in 1982 after he was implicated in the Abscam scandal. The scandal probably helped Lautenberg's campaign.
Lautenberg won the election. 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 Toricelli, was forced to withdraw his candidacy for reelection over corruption charges, and Lautenberg was drafted to take his place despite his advanced age. Despite an attempt by Republicans to disqualify him over charges that he was added to the ballot too late, he was elected. Lautenberg became 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 to help New Jersey families and bills combatting carjacking and car theft and has criticized the Bush administration on national security issues.