TRENTON - State House colleagues are remembering Sen. Frank Lautenberg as a lawmaker with the political enthusiam of a much younger man.

Despite Lautenberg's declining health, the news of his death today took many by surprise. Politicians from both parties say he will be remembered as a dedicated public servant and a man of his word.

"Never was Sen. Lautenberg to be underestimated," Gov. Chris Christie says. "As an advocate for the cause that he believed in, and as an adversary in the political world."

State Senate President Steve Sweeney says Lautenberg made a true impact on his country as well as on the state of New Jersey.

Sen. Lautenberg holds the record for most votes cast as U.S. senator from New Jersey. The senator held the seat since 2002, and for 18 of the 20 years before that.

Gov. Christie, a Republican, says he will hand-pick Lautenberg's replacement. Lautenberg was a Democrat, and New Jersey voters haven't elected a Republican U.S. senator in almost 40 years.