Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), the 89-year-old lawmaker who re-emerged from a brief retirement in 2003 to serve an additional 10 years, died early Monday from complications due to viral pneumonia.
Republican Gov. Chris Christie will appoint a replacement for Lautenberg, who had previously announced he would not seek re-election in 2014.
"The senator always took the time to listen to our concerns and understand the critical credit union issues,” said CUNA EVP, Strategic Communications and Engagement Paul Gentile.
Gentile was previously president/CEO of the New Jersey Credit Union League. “He was a great public servant to the state of New Jersey for many years. His leadership will be missed,” Gentile said of the late senator.
Late last year, Lautenberg voted against a bill that would have extended the Transaction Account Guarantee, a measure that was supported by bank lobbyists but opposed by credit union trades.
He was not a co-sponsor of member business lending legislation introduced in the Senate, but Gentile said CUNA was optimistic Lautenberg would have voted for the measure last year, had that bill received a full vote in the Senate.
Lautenberg first took office in the U.S. Senate in late 1982 and retired in January 2001. He returned to win a controversial election in 2002 to return to the Senate. The last remaining World War Two veteran in the Senate, Lautenberg was also the upper chamber’s oldest member.