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Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg dies at 89

The oldest serving senator died from viral pneumonia Monday.
/ Source: Jansing & Co.

The oldest serving senator died from viral pneumonia Monday.

New Jersey’s Frank Lautenberg, a lion of the Senate who served for more than three decades, died Monday morning of viral pneumonia. He was 89 years old.

As the longest-serving senator in New Jersey, with a career spanning some 30 years, Lautenberg was the oldest member of the Senate. He had been struggling with health issues for months, citing flu and bronchitis.

Lautenberg announced in February that he would not seek a sixth term in 2014, and said he would instead focus on “a two-year mission to pass new gun safety laws, protect children from toxic chemicals and create more opportunities for working families in New Jersey.” In recent months, he worked to pass a ban on assault weapons and high- capacity magazines in the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. He also forged a bipartisan bill addressing regulation of chemicals used on household products.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican who at times clashed with Lautenberg over fortifying the social safety net and new public transportation between New York and New Jersey,  is expected to  fill Lautenberg’s seat by appointment.