Senator Ted Kennedy (77) died late last night at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, after a battle with brain cancer. Senator Kennedy served as the patriarch for his extended family, a family that has served our nation and has faced so much tragedy. His family's statement: "We've lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice."
Kennedy, the "Lion of the Senate," was considered one of the most effective legislators of the past few decades. He played major roles in passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, and was an outspoken liberal standard-bearer during a conservative-dominated era from the 1980s to the early 2000s.
Senator Kennedy has dedicated his career to fighting for equal opportunity, fairness and justice for all Americans. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that every American has access to quality and affordable health care, and has succeeded in doing so for countless children, seniors, and Americans with disabilities. He has called health care reform the "cause of his life."
As many of my long time readers know, I have respected and admired the Kennedy family since I was a child. My sister and I saw both John Kennedy in 1960 and Robert Kennedy in 1968, when each visited Lansing, Michigan, our home town, when each were running for office in the 1960s. The enduring legacy of the Kennedy family is Public Service, serving as champions of the less fortunate, working tirelessly in support of the needs of working men and women of all colors, of all ethnicities.
Ted Kennedy, an extraordinary Senator and Champion of Social Justice, will be missed.