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: Well the large issues, I think, are how are we as a people, as individuals, states, country going to deal with the challenges of globalization over the period of the future? Are we going to be driven out by these forces, or are we going to be willing to grasp them, and to shape them, and to turn them to our advantage? I think that’s the central challenge.
That means investing in people, investing in education skills, other kinds of issues or questions. And I think the follow-up answer to that is to understand the strength of the nation, which is our values. That’s when we’re respected as a country, that’s what we’re respected for. Those are the values which are inscribed both in the Declaration of Independence, and also in the Constitution. Those are the values that were expressed in the Mayflower Compact – about our sense of community and our value of being together. It’s described in the Constitution, the general welfare of our nation.
That is when we have been at our best, and I think that’s our greatest strength, the greatest challenge, I think is how we’re going to cope with the central challenges of a rapidly changing world.
And I think the other great challenge is how we’re going to maintain this strength of sense of community, and value which has been such a compelling force in the shaping of our own lives, and also in shaping the lives of the nation.
Recorded on: September 14, 2007