Senator Edward M. Kennedy represented Massachusetts in the United States Senate for forty-six years. He was elected in 1962 to finish the final two years of the Senate term of his brother, Senator John F. Kennedy, who was elected President in 1960. Ted Kennedy was re-elected to seven full terms.
Throughout his career, Kennedy fought for issues that benefited the citizens of Massachusetts and the nation. His primary focus was making quality health care accessible and affordable to every American, but he was also active in education reform and immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, defending the rights of workers and their families, strengthening civil rights, assisting individuals with disabilities, fighting for cleaner water and cleaner air, and protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare.
Kennedy died after a long battle with brain cancer on August 25, 2009. He was 77.
Question: How have your family’s fortunes influenced your worldview?
Ted Kennedy: Well I’ve been faced both adversity and also I’ve witnessed great success in the times, particularly with my brothers’ sort of achievement.
I think this is the values of our country and society that we’re fighting for, and I see people who struggle very hard to try and make a difference in the nation which inspires me. I think there’s a real recognition that with our democracy, we have no guarantee as a nation that we’re going to have future prosperity. We have no guarantee as a nation we’re going to have future security. And we have no guarantee as a nation we’re going to have future hope, and opportunity, and progress.
Those values have to be fought for every single day, and I think that’s a responsibility of citizenship. I’ve been very blessed by the opportunity of being in the United States Senate and having an opportunity to fight for those; but I have enormous respect for everyone that is out there – that school teacher, that law enforcement, that legal defender, that healthcare worker trying to give healthcare, trying to give education; trying to bring the bring the Constitution to people who didn’t know that they had Constitutional rights and liberties.
It’s important to be involved and engaged, and I think there’s satisfaction. There’s disappointments that come with it, but there’s a good deal of satisfaction as well.
Recorded on: September 14, 2007