When Frank Lautenberg, (pictured) the liberal senior Democratic Senator from New Jersey, announced on Thursday that he wouldn't be running for reelection in 2014, some said it signaled the end of a long and illustrious career. Lautenberg rejoined:
This is not the end of anything, but rather the beginning of 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.
While I may not be seeking reelection, there is plenty to do before the end of this term and I’m going to keep fighting as hard as ever for the people of New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.
After joining a small bookkeeping company, Automatic Payrolls, in 1949 as its only salesman, Lautenberg helped the owner go public in 1961 and made himself rich in the process. The company changed its name to Automatic Data Processing (ADP) in 1957 and now processes paychecks for about 10 percent of America’s workforce and sponsors the ADP National Employment Report and the ADP Small Business Report.
In 1982, Lautenberg saw an opportunity to run for the Senate from New Jersey and, with $3 million of his own money, won the election. He has won reelection every year since (with a brief hiatus) and was thinking about running again in 2014 until health problems began to slow him down.
In February 2010, Lautenberg was diagnosed with cancer of the blood at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York but, after undergoing chemo, he was pronounced cancer-free in June in that same year. However, episodes of the flu that turned into bronchitis this winter led him to conclude that his time in the Senate was drawing to a close. A close friend, Jim McQueeny, said, “He was not decided before the sickness [but] when he got sick a couple of times too close together, he started to think more deeply about it.” Lautenberg turned 89 in January, making him the oldest member of the Senate.
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