Press Release

AFT on the Passing of U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

For Release: 

Monday, June 3, 2013


Janet Bass

WASHINGTON—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, AFT New Jersey President Donna Chiera, and Health Professionals and Allied Employees President Ann Twomey on the passing of U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg:

"Sen. Lautenberg's work to make America better, safer and healthier will be his lasting legacy. He was a longtime friend of labor and public employees, coming to Congress after a successful business career but never forgetting his family's working-class union roots. He not only talked the talk about workers' rights and voice, but he walked the walk, literally, joining picket lines when nurses had exhausted all other avenues. We will always be grateful for Sen. Lautenberg's stalwart support of public schools, institutions of higher education, and their educators and staff. He took the time to learn from urban educators about their need for more resources, the damaging consequences for students of teacher layoffs, and the need for safe, new schools; he advocated for them relentlessly. To keep communities safe, he was the original sponsor of an assault weapons ban, vigorously supported expanded background checks, and wrote the law prohibiting domestic violence perpetrators from owning guns. Those who fly can thank Sen. Lautenberg for the ban on smoking on airplanes.

"Sen. Lautenberg was a role model as a fierce advocate for core democratic values, and he will be missed very much."

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.