Path to Power
Frank Lautenberg was born Jan, 23, 1924 in Paterson, N.J. to Polish and Russian Jewish immigrants who had entered America through Ellis Island. As a child, Lautenberg moved often as his parents looked for work. His father Sam worked in silk mills, sold coal, farmed and ran a tavern. Sam died when Frank was in high school, so Frank began working nights to support the family.
After graduating from high school, Lautenberg joined the Army Signal Corps and served in Europe. After World War II, he attended Columbia University on the G.I. Bill and received a degree in economics in 1949.
Lautenberg is a staunch Democrat and voted with the majority of Democrats 96.6 percent of the time in the 110th Congress.
Lautenberg voted for the $700 billion financial bailout package in October 2008. He also voted for President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan in February 2009.
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) has been an important Lautenberg supporter. Corzine was one of a group of state politicians who asked Lautenberg to run in 2002. In 2008, Corzine provided an enthusiastic endorsement.
Lautenberg has been a help to Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) when it comes to coastal and beach projects, by steering money from the Appropriations Committee. For years, Pallone has been mentioned as a potential Senate successor.