Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Smith Democrats Remember Ted Kennedy

Senator Edward Kennedy passed away early this morning, having battled brain cancer for over a year. Senator Kennedy represented Massachusetts for 47 years, the third longest-serving senator in history. He championed countless issues, from equal pay, equal voting rights, and equal marriage rights to poverty, the environment, and education. And, of course, he worked tirelessly to guarantee health care for all Americans, which he called “the cause of my life.”

Senator Kennedy challenged sitting President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination in 1980; when he left the race, he threw himself back into his Senate work, and compiled one of the most extensive and impressive legislative records in American government. Though known as part of a political dynasty, his devotion was to public service, and he was highly regarded for his ability to work, and get along with, all his colleagues. Despite his illness, Senator Kennedy was still working towards health care reform efforts, and his staff was reportedly deeply involved in Hill negotiations.

His niece, Caroline Kennedy, introduced him at the Democratic National Convention one year ago, remarking:

For 46 years, he has been so much more than just a senator for the people of Massachusetts. He's been a senator for all who believe in a dream that's never died. If you're no longer being denied a job because of your race, gender or disability, or if you've seen a rise in the minimum wage you're being paid, Teddy is your senator too.

If your children are receiving health care thanks to the Children's Health Insurance Program, if you see a nurse at a community health center or if you're benefiting from the Medicare program that he fought to create, and that just last month he returned to the Senate to save, Teddy is your senator too.

If your child is getting an early boost in life through Head Start, or attending a better school or can go to college because a Pell grant has made it more affordable, Teddy is your senator too. And if you're an 18-year-old who's going to vote for the first time - and I bet it'll be for Barack Obama - Teddy is your senator too.”
We thank Senator Kennedy for all his work, and for being our senator too.