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Norman Lent, a Korean War veteran and 11-term Member of Congress, died June 11 at his home in Arlington, Va. He was 81.
Lent represented New York’s 4th district spanning the south shore of Long Island, still held today by his immediate successor and fellow Republican, Rep. Peter King.
“Norm Lent was a true friend and an outstanding Congressman,” King said in a statement. “He gave me my start in politics and I will always be indebted to him.”
Lent, who earned his political chops in the New York State Senate, was elected to Congress in 1970, ousting the incumbent Democrat, the late Allard Lowenstein.
During his first year in Congress and continuing into 1986, Lent was vice chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Lent also served for a time as the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In that capacity, Lent he spent his last decade in the House helping to write pivotal legislation such as the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, Hazardous Waste Cleanup Act and the Inside Trading and Securities Fraud Enforcement Act. He also played a role in drafting the bill that ultimately ended the national rail strike of 1992.
Lent was also vice chairman of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, where he was an advocate for his district’s costal areas. He helped draft legislation establishing a 200-mile limit protecting U.S. fishing rights and shepherded bills to passage that would uphold standards for keeping oceans safe from oil pollution, garbage dumping and waste disposal.
After his retirement, in 1993 Lent formed a Washington, D.C.-based government relations firm that went through two different incarnations and dissolved in July 2008.
In his early years before entering politics, Lent practiced law. He was a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve during and immediately after the Korean War. At a date to be determined, he will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara Morris; two children, Norman Lent III and Barbara Roberts; a brother, Robert; a niece and nephew; and five grandchildren.