Bonnie Lautenberg is a business woman, philanthropist, photographer, mother, grandmother and the wife of the late United States Senator Frank R. Lautenberg. She sits on the board of Enterprise Asset Management, Inc. a family real estate and investment business founded by her late father. Bonnie has recently gone on the Board of Overseers of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) because her mother has that disease, is a member of the International Directors Council at the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan and a Board Member of the American Friends of the Israel Museum. She served on the board of the SLE Lupus Foundation for twelve years because her sister has this disease. Mrs. Lautenberg has been a photographer for many years and one of her most important bodies of work, How They Changed Our Lives: Senators As Working People was first shown at Mana Contemporary, an art facility in Jersey City, New Jersey and is now on-line in the Library of Congress, in perpetuity. Having gone from Politics to Pop, her latest body of work has been photographing pop artists as they perform such as Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry. She has exhibited and sold her work in galleries or art fairs in Chicago, Miami, New York City and on the East End of Long Island. A photograph of Katy Perry was recently included in an exhibit called Art for Hillary NYC at the Gagosian Gallery in New York. She was very excited to be included in that show among renowned artists such as Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Annie Liebovitz, Chuck Close, Debra Kass and many others.
As the Senator’s wife, she knew how important the legislation he worked on was to him and the frustration he felt when he could not get a Republican to Co-Sponsor the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) which he tried to update and re-author for seven years, for the betterment of everyone in this country. He told her many times that this bill, which would stop manufacturers from using toxic chemicals, would be more important than his signature legislation, No Smoking in Airplanes. He finally did get a Republican Co-Sponsor about three weeks prior to his death when Senator David Vitter (R-LA) came on Board to work with him. After the Senators passing, Mrs. Lautenberg called their friend and fellow member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), to ask him to take Frank’s place working on TSCA. He did and worked with the same zeal and determination as his friend and mentor, Frank Lautenberg. Bonnie Lautenberg championed this bill and worked with Senator’s Udall and Vitter for the past three years. Other committee members such as Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), who sits in Senator Lautenberg’s Senate seat, said this, “Bonnie Lautenberg has been the 101st Senator on this bill” and Senator Tom Carper (D-DEL) said “She was the wind beneath our wings on this bill”. It took an additional three years after Senator Lautenberg passed away to get this bill passed and President Obama signed The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act on June 22, 2016. It was a thrilling day!
Mrs. Lautenberg truly appreciates being recognized by the Meadowlands YMCA for her work on this bill.