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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sen. Edward Kennedy, 1932-2009




Reaction from Florida:

Sen. Bill Nelson: "Most Americans cannot remember a time without Ted Kennedy. Whatever your political persuasion, you had to respect his lion-like conviction. It was that conviction that gave a voice to the powerless over the powerful. Grace and I came to know Ted and Vicki in his later years in the Senate, and we count it a privilege to have known him."

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek: "Sen. Kennedy did not simply live for the Senate – he was the heart of the Senate. Respected by all of his colleagues, Sen. Kennedy’s thoughtfulness, conviction and passion were attached to signature pieces of legislation that have profoundly shaped our nation for the better. From strengthening the quality of education for our students, to improving the quality of health care for our seniors, to ensuring equality and civil rights for all Americans, Sen. Kennedy was a leader unparalleled in our nation."

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings: “Today our nation mourns the loss of a great man and a great public servant.  My thoughts and prayers are with the Kennedy family at this most difficult time. Sen. Kennedy served our country proudly in the United States Senate for over four decades. His profound impact on American politics has taught us to serve our country with respect and to fight for those whose voices aren’t always heard. Although, Sen. Kennedy is no longer with us, his life and legacy will always be remembered in the halls of Congress."

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "I was deeply saddened this morning when I learned of the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy. Americans have lost a giant in public service, someone who was never too big to reach out and lift someone else up. For me personally, this occurred when as a freshman in the House of Representatives, Sen. Kennedy graciously gave me words of encouragement when I was asked to testify at the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing of Justice Samuel Alito. Later that year, he took the time to counsel me on the best way to move my pool safety legislation through the Senate. I was grateful and personally moved that this pillar of the Senate would take the time to help a brand new member of the House of Representatives get her bill passed and save the lives of young children."

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown: "I vividly remember him from the first Democratic convention I attended in 1980, in which I served as a Kennedy delegate.  I was awed by the Senator’s vision and presence at the convention, and of course, by his memorable and inspiring speech in which he said, ‘ for me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.’ Similarly, the work that the Senator did in the areas of health care, education, people with disabilities, and poverty alleviation will continue today and into the future as we attempt to fulfill his dream of providing quality health care and a solid education for all Americans, as well as security for our nation’s senior citizens."

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor: “Senator Kennedy dedicated his professional and public service career to working people, seniors and children. His legacy is long and vast. Anyone who has lost their job recently can thank Senator Ted Kennedy for COBRA. Anyone who suffers from mental illness can thank Senator Ted Kennedy for improving mental health coverage. Senator Ted Kennedy also was instrumental in increasing the minimum wage, which is so vital to workers in the Tampa Bay area, and for defending Americans’ civil rights. There is a void in the U.S. Senate today, but his influence will be felt for generations and generations.” 

U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler: "As we mourn the loss of Senator Kennedy and honor his many legislative accomplishments, we must all to work to ensure that his ideals and values live on. His commitment to justice, equality, and opportunity for all Americans must be remembered as we work to rebuild America’s economy and ensure all of our citizens have access to quality, affordable health care."

State Sen. Dan Gelber: "Like all Americans, I pause today to keep the Kennedy family in my prayers. During my time as chief counsel and staff director for the U.S. Senate's investigations committee, I was able to watch up close Sen. Kennedy in action, and one thing is certain: Those who agreed and disagreed with Sen. Kennedy respected him for his intellect and force of personality. He knew how to passionately defend his core beliefs and stand on principle, yet his fingerprints are on countless laws passed during both Republican and Democratic presidencies. He truly was a once-in-a-generation kind of public servant and American. The lion may now rest, but his legacy leaves an America that is better and stronger because of his service."


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 3:59pm]


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