U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says Democrats lost a good colleague Monday. Durbin says U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J., pictured) will be missed. “Frank Lautenberg was a great U.S. senator,” Durbin said. “He was a veteran of World War 2. There aren’t many left in the Congress, and just an extraordinarily fine individual.” Lautenberg died Mondaymorning of viral pneumonia.
He has struggled with health problems this year and was absent from the Senate for more than six weeks. Durbin and Lautenberg worked on legislation that banned smoking on planes. The law opened the door to other smoking bans. Durbin wouldn’t comment on the process to replace Lautenberg, only to say that a court ruled that Illinois had to have a special election when Roland Burris was picked to fill an empty Senate seat. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, has said he will appoint someone to replace Lautenberg.