Lautenberg won't seek re-election but says he's not done yet

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 2/14/2013

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who has been both a thorn in the side as well as an advocate on various issues involving heavy trucks, says he will spend what will likely be his final two years in Congress doing what he knows best – fighting the fight.

The 89-year-old Democratic senator from New Jersey said Thursday that he will not be seeking another term in 2014. However, he said, it doesn’t mean the work will stop in the meantime.

“I will be traveling to my hometown of Paterson tomorrow to announce that I will not seek re-election in 2014,” Lautenberg said in a statement.

“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 re-election, there is plenty of work 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.”

On the same day as the announcement, Lautenberg had just been renamed chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security, which is part of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

It is at that post where he has advocated for rail causes and for electronic on-board recorders on all heavy trucks – issues that small-business truckers generally oppose.

On the other hand, Lautenberg has also taken toll authorities to task over high toll rates and is staunchly opposed to any attempt to increase truck size and weight on U.S. highways.

OOIDA leadership acknowledges the hard work and passion that Lautenberg brought to the table.

“I was shocked to hear about Mr. Lautenberg’s decision to retire. He is a fighter, and I thought he would run again,” said OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Laura O’Neill.

“In Congress, you’d be hard-pressed to find a person more passionate about trucking issues than the Senator. He has had a top notch-staff over the years and has worked tirelessly. We haven’t always agreed on every issue, but I certainly wish him well.”

Newark Mayor Cory Booker recently mounted a charge for Lautenberg’s seat, setting up a Senate campaign committee in January.

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