New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg (D) announced Thursday he will not seek re-election in 2014.
Lautenberg, the oldest serving senator at 89, served in the Senate from 1982 to 2001. After a brief retirement, he returned for a fourth term in 2002 and was elected to a fifth term in 2008.
His term will expire in 2015.
Lautenberg will host a press conference in Paterson, his hometown, on Friday to formally announce his decision not to run again.
Lautenberg issued the following statement about his decision Thursday afternoon:
“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."
An Army veteran of World War II, Lautenberg is a graduate of Columbia University. Lautenberg sponsored the Toxic Right-to-Know Legislation. It requires chemical companies to disclose the chemicals that they release into the air, water, and ground in residential neighborhoods.
The decision could pave the way for Newark Mayor Cory Booker to run for Lautenberg’s vacated seat, NBCNews.com reported.
Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-09) spoke highly of Lautenberg.
“As a soldier and a U.S. Senator, Frank has fought tirelessly on behalf of hard working Americans across our entire nation,” Pascrell said in a statement Thursday. “Time after time, when others stayed quiet or turned away from tough issues, Frank was always on the forefront working for all of us.”