Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Memories of Ted Kennedy from people who lives he touched

Sens. Mel Martinez, left, and Ted Kennedy joined forces to achieve a compromise on immigration legislation between the White House and the Senate in 2007.

Getty Images

Sens. Mel Martinez, left, and Ted Kennedy joined forces to achieve a compromise on immigration legislation between the White House and the Senate in 2007.

Sen. Ted Kennedy was a man of many legislative pursuits and in 2007, he put his storied ability to reach across the aisle on display with immigration reform. Joining him in celebration on May 17 was Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, who helped craft the bill to offer legal status to 12 million illegal immigrants while improving border security.

But a month later, the deal had fallen apart. Martinez's political career, by extension, also stumbled. Bludgeoned by his own Republican Party for supporting what many saw as leniency toward illegal immigrants, his approval ratings tanked.

Upon news of Kennedy's death, Martinez had this to say: "I am deeply saddened by my colleague's death. Ted was an icon of passionate public service and gave selflessly to our nation. I came to know him well through our work on immigration reform where he was a tough negotiator, and someone who knew how to reach bipartisan agreement for the good of an issue. He will be remembered as the Lion of the Senate for his voice, his style, his work and his allegiance to always do what he thought was best for our country. Kitty and I offer our condolences, and Senator Kennedy's family is in our thoughts and prayers."

Martinez, who recently announced he would leave office 16 months early, will officially end his service in the U.S. Senate on Sept. 9.

Alex Leary, Times staff writer

Some of the people whose life Kennedy touched keep a vigil

The contingent of friends and family sitting vigil for Sen. Edward Kennedy include a federal judge, the family of an Iraq war soldier and a Sept. 11 widow.

His body is lying in repose through today for public viewing at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

Those sitting vigil in one-hour shifts include the family of Brian Hart, who was killed in an unarmored Humvee in Iraq. After Hart's death, Kennedy worked with his relatives to seek more body armor for troops.

Also sitting vigil are former staffers, longtime friends and two families who became friends with Kennedy after their relatives were killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

He had a special connection with America's young people

Edward Kennedy had a reputation for connecting with young people in person, even when he was older and in failing health. Jennifer Donahue, political director at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, observed that when he spoke with Barack Obama in her state.

"He was the lion. Proof to me was watching these young people respond to him the way he did. It transcends party and politics," she says. "It's the kind of inspiration that can light someone up for life. That is not easy to do when you're standing next to Barack Obama."

When Jessica DaSilva, a senior at the University of Florida, got the news of Kennedy's death on her cell phone, she cried.

The journalism and political science major respected him so much that his endorsement caused her to change her vote from Clinton to Obama.

"I just thought he was a really admirable person," she says.

Kennedy's pivotal role in the campaign sent even the youngest Americans to their computers to find out more.

According to Yahoo, for instance, 32 percent of Internet searches for "Edward Kennedy" in August of last year were by those 20 and younger. And this month, 25 percent of searches are from the under-20 group.

In August 2007, searches for "Edward Kennedy" were not even significant enough to register.

Memories of Ted Kennedy from people who lives he touched 08/27/09 [Last modified: Thursday, August 27, 2009 11:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida education news: Guns, charter schools, drug education and more

    Blogs

    HOSTILE WORK PLACE: A legal review determines that while a University of South Florida technology center former director might have been boorish and hostile, …

  2. Fire crews battle blaze at apartment complex near Seminole Heights

    Fire

    Fire crews are battling a blaze that broke out early Monday morning at an apartment complex near Seminole Heights, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.

  3. PolitiFact Florida: Claim that 5.7 million noncitizens voted is wrong

    State Roundup

    President Donald Trump's unfounded allegations that millions voted illegally in 2016 is back in the news, with his supporters pointing to a new analysis that claims millions of undocumented immigrants voted in 2008.

    Instances of noncitizens voting have been reported, but evidence points to a small number among millions of votes cast.  
  4. For Fourth of July, an American feast inspired by founding father Alexander Hamilton

    Cooking

    Are there a million things you haven't done? Is one of them throwing a patriotic party inspired by one of the founding fathers?

    Caribbean Pork With Potato Salad makes for the perfect Fourth of July meal.
  5. 'Baby Driver' literally turns heist movie genre on its ear, set to slick soundtrack

    Movies

    Buckle up for Baby Driver, a movie so full throttle cool that you want to fist bump the screen. Style is the substance of Edgar Wright's inventive heist flick, a fresh, masterful synching of music and getaway mayhem, as if La La Land's traffic jam was moving, armed and dangerous.

    Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a getaway driver for heist arranger Doc (Kevin Spacey). Plagued by tinnitus, Baby tunes out his distracting “hum in the drum” by listening to music while he drives.
Sony Pictures