John Adler, a New Jersey politician who worked his way up from town councilman to congressman, has died. He was 51. Adler, who was among the Democratic members of Congress that lost their jobs in last November's election, had been in a local hospital since last month, when he underwent emergency surgery for an infection in the tissue around his heart. Adler served six terms in the state Senate before moving to Congress in 2008. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver recalled how Adler was a prime force behind the state's law that bans smoking in most public buildings.
"His passing is a tragic loss for our state, but his legacy of intelligent and classy leadership will not be forgotten. Every time we breathe clean air at a restaurant, for instance, we can thank John Adler," she said. Adler also sponsored a state law toughening car emission standards and was a leading backer of state laws to take away pensions for government employees with corruption convictions."Congressman Adler was a fine public servant and a good person," Gov. Chris Christie said in a statement. "His untimely death is an awful shock."