WASHINGTON, D.C. — Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, the last of the World War II veterans in the Senate, is retiring at the end of this term. Lautenberg, who turned 89 last month, had been planning to run for re-election in 2014. Earlier this year, however, Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, indicated interest in the job and began forming a campaign committee to explore the option.
A cancer survivor, Lautenberg enlisted in the Army Signal Corps in Europe shortly after graduating from high school, according to his office. With his retirement, the only World War II veterans left in Congress are Reps. John Dingell, D-Mich., and Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas.
After the war, Lautenberg went into business, founding the payroll firm Automatic Data Processing with two boyhood friends. He is now among the wealthier members of the Senate, according to financial disclosure forms.
After being elected to the Senate in 1981, and serving for several terms, Lautenberg retired in 2000, only to be pressed back into service in 2002, winning office after fellow Democratic Sen. Bob Torricelli dropped out of the race shortly before the election amid a mounting political scandal.
Lautenberg has been a reliable Democratic vote in the Senate and has been particularly outspoken on issues of gun violence and income inequality, most recently pointing to his own wealth as an example that some Americans can shoulder a heavier tax burden.
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