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.
Ted Kennedy: It was perhaps the first or second day, and my brother had been elected to the Congress. And he asked me whether I wanted a tour of Washington, and I welcomed the opportunity. And he brought me around to the House of Representatives; and brought me to the United States Senate; brought me over to the Supreme Court of the United States; pointed out the White House along with those magnificent monuments – the Lincoln [Memorial], Washington Monument.
But he gave advice to me then which has really stuck with me. I was probably twelve years old at the time, and he said, “Look. You’ll visit the buildings now. You’ll see these buildings.” But he said, “The really importance of this visit is that you take an interest in what happens inside these buildings for the rest of your life.”
And I thought, “Well that’s a nice sort of idea, but you know, when are we going to get hot dogs or something or other, or go to a baseball or a football game?”
But the resonance of that message has stayed with me all of my life, and it was good advice at that time. And it’s advice that I share when young people come from Massachusetts and visit the Capitol. It’s the only way, really, our Democracy is going to work is if people take the interest, take the time, involve themselves in the political life of our country. It’s enormously important.
Recorded on: September 14, 2007