Ted Kennedy

Edward Moore Kennedy
Enlarge picture
Ted Kennedy


Preceded by
Succeeded by

Political partyDemocratic
Spouse1. Joan Bennett Kennedy (1958-1982, div.)
2. Victoria Reggie Kennedy (from 1992)
Alma materHarvard University (1954)
University of Virginia School of Law (1959)
Professionpolitician, lawyer
ReligionRoman Catholic

Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (born February 22, 1932) is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. In office since November 1962, Kennedy is currently the second-longest serving member of the Senate, after President pro tempore of the United States Senate Robert Byrd of West Virginia. [1][2] The most prominent living member of the Kennedy family, he is the younger brother of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, both of whom were assassinated in the 1960s. He is also the father of Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy.

Ted Kennedy is a staunch advocate of liberal principles, and is one of the most influential and enduring icons of his party. He is known for being a skillful backroom negotiator who occasionally crosses the aisle to work with Republican legislators and presidents to reach an acceptable compromise.

Family and youth

Kennedy is the youngest of nine children of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, a prominent Irish-American family. He attended the Fessenden School, and later Milton Academy and entered Harvard College in 1950, where he resided in Winthrop House. Kennedy was also a member of the Owl Club. He was expelled from Harvard in May 1951 after he was caught cheating on an ethics examination.[3] Kennedy entered the United States Army for two years and was assigned to the SHAPE headquarters in Paris. He eventually re-entered Harvard, graduating in 1954.[1] In the 1955 Harvard/Yale football game (Yale won 21-7), Kennedy caught Harvard's only touchdown pass. In 1958, he attended the Hague Academy of International Law. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia, where he was the winner of the William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition,[4] and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1959.[1] While he was in law school, he managed his brother John's 1958 Senate re-election campaign.

His home is in Hyannis, Massachusetts, where he lives with his second wife, Victoria Reggie Kennedy — a Washington lawyer and the daughter of a Louisiana judge — and her children from a previous marriage, Curran and Caroline. Victoria is president and co-founder of Common Sense about Kids and Guns, an advocacy group that seeks to reduce gun deaths and injuries to children in the United States. He has three grown children from his first marriage with Virginia Joan Bennett (married on November 29, 1958, in Bronxville, New York), whom he met while delivering a speech at Manhattanville College: Kara Kennedy (born February 27, 1960), Edward Jr. (born September 26, 1961) and Patrick (born July 14, 1967). Kara married Michael Allen on September 9, 1990 in Centerville, Massachusetts. They have two children: Grace Kennedy Allen (born September 19, 1994 in Washington, D.C.) and Max Greathouse Allen (born December 20, 1996 in Rockville, Maryland). Kennedy has five grandchildren. After his brothers John and Robert were assassinated (in 1963 and 1968 respectively), he took on the role of surrogate father for his brothers' 13 children.[5]

In 1960, John Kennedy became President of the United States, and vacated his Massachusetts Senate seat. Ted would not be eligible to fill Jack's vacant Senate seat until February 22, 1962, when he would turn thirty. His father therefore persuaded the Massachusetts governor to name a Kennedy family friend Benjamin A. Smith II to fill out Jack's term, keeping the seat available for Ted.[6] In 1962, Kennedy was elected to the Senate from Massachusetts in a special election. He was elected to a full six-year term in 1964 and was reelected in 1970, 1976, 1982, 1988, 1994, 2000 and 2006.

Early career

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First Senate campaign
Kennedy is the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. He also serves on the Judiciary Committee, where he is the Chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee and the Armed Services Committee, where he is the Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, a founder of the Congressional Friends of Ireland and a trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

In 1964, Kennedy was in a plane crash in which the pilot and one of Kennedy's aides were killed. He was pulled from the wreckage by fellow senator Birch E. Bayh II (D-Ind.), and spent weeks in a hospital recovering from a severe back injury, a punctured lung, broken ribs and internal bleeding.

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John, Robert and Edward Kennedy circa 1960
In 1963, the year after he was first elected to the Senate, Ted's brother, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated. In 1968, his last surviving brother, Robert, was assassinated as well during his bid to be nominated as the Democratic candidate for the presidency. Kennedy delivered a very emotional eulogy at Robert's funeral. The 1993 book The Last Brother by Joe McGinniss portrayed Kennedy as particularly devastated by the death of Robert, in that Ted was closer to Robert than any other member of the Kennedy family.

After the shock from this event wore off, Kennedy was looked upon as a likely future presidential candidate. For about a year, until the Chappaquiddick incident, the Democratic establishment began to focus attention on him as the new "carrier of the torch" for the Kennedys and the party.

In January 1969, Kennedy defeated Louisiana Senator Russell B. Long to become Senate Majority Whip. He would serve as Whip until January 1971, when he was defeated by Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

Chappaquiddick incident

The Chappaquiddick incident refers to the circumstances surrounding the 1969 death of Mary Jo Kopechne, a campaign worker for Senator Kennedy. While riding in a car with Senator Kennedy, Kopechne was killed when the Senator drove off of Dike bridge and into a channel after a party at Chappaquiddick Island, Martha's Vineyard. Kennedy entered a plea of guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident and received a suspended sentence of two months in jail.

Presidential bid

Kennedy deflected supporters who urged him to run for President in 1972 and 1976 by citing family concerns, in light of the fact of his brothers' assassinations. He finally threw his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination in the 1980 presidential election by launching an unusual, insurgent campaign against the sitting president, Jimmy Carter, a member of his own party. Despite much early support, his bid was ultimately unsuccessful. Carter was highly unpopular at the time of Kennedy's announcement, and Kennedy could have expected to do well against the incumbent president. But the Iran hostage crisis gave President Carter a large boost in the polls that lasted for several months. The upswing in Carter's popularity knocked the wind out of Kennedy's candidacy, which was predicated on dislodging an unpopular president. In addition, the Chappaquiddick incident still dogged the senator, and his opponents often invoked the highly recognizable melody of Simon & Garfunkel's 1970 hit song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" to remind voters of the tragedy and scandal. Kennedy's campaign received substantial negative press from what pundits criticized as a rambling response to the question "Why do you want to be President?"[7] Kennedy won 10 presidential primaries against Carter, who won 24. Eventually, he bowed out of the race, but delivered a rousing speech before the 1980 Democratic National Convention in New York City that many consider to be one of his finest moments.[8]

Democratic Party icon

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An official photo
Since his presidential bid, Kennedy has become one of the most recognizable and influential members of the party. In 2004, Kennedy was involved in the failed presidential bid of his fellow Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, speaking for Kerry multiple times and lending his chief of staff, Mary Beth Cahill, to the Kerry campaign. Kennedy stated that he would have supported Kerry should he have chosen to run for president in 2008.

In April 2006, Kennedy was selected by Time as one of "America's 10 Best Senators"; the magazine noted that he had "amassed a titanic record of legislation affecting the lives of virtually every man, woman and child in the country" and that "by the late 1990s, the liberal icon had become such a prodigious cross-aisle dealer that Republican leaders began pressuring party colleagues not to sponsor bills with him".[9]

As of 2006, Kennedy is the second-longest serving current senator, only behind Robert Byrd. Kennedy won an eighth full term (and ninth overall term) in 2006. If he serves out his full six-year term, he will have served in the U.S. Senate for fifty years. Currently, Senator Kennedy is the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Kennedy helped pass the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, which incrementally raises the minimum wage by $2.10 to $7.25 over a two year period. The bill also included some controversial tax cuts for small businesses and higher taxes for many $1 million-plus executives. Kennedy was quoted as saying, "Passing this wage hike represents a small, but necessary step to help lift America's working poor out of the ditches of poverty and onto the road toward economic prosperity."[10]

In 2006, Kennedy released a children's book .[11] Also in 2006, Kennedy released a political history entitled America Back on Track[12]

Political record

No Child Left Behind

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Ted Kennedy speaks at the dedication ceremonies of the Connell School of Nursing at Boston College
Kennedy was a major player in the bipartisan team that wrote the controversial No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which, according to both Kennedy and President Bush, was a compromise. He then worked to get it passed in a Republican controlled Congress, despite the opposition of members from both parties.

Right to abortion

Although he has been a staunch advocate of abortion rights for the past 30 years, Kennedy adopted this position only after Roe v. Wade became the law of the land. Prior to that, he held a pro-life position. A letter to a constituent, dated August 3, 1971 opposes "the legalization of abortion on demand" saying, "While the deep concern of a woman bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized – the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old.".[13] Kennedy's reversal on this issue after Roe v. Wade became a source of continuing dispute between him and the Catholic Church, of which he is a member. In 1987, Kennedy delivered an impassioned speech condemning Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork as a "right-wing extremist" and warning that "Robert Bork's America" would be one marked by back alley abortions and other backward practices. Kennedy's strong opposition to Bork's nomination was important to the Senate's rejection of Bork's candidacy. In recent years, he has argued that much of the debate over abortion is a false dichotomy. Speaking at the National Press Club in 2005, he remarked, "Surely, we can all agree that abortion should be rare, and that we should do all we can to help women avoid the need to face that decision."[14]

Immigration policy

Ted Kennedy was a strong supporter of the 1965 Hart-Celler Act — signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson — which dramatically changed US immigration policy.[15] "The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs."[16] Kennedy is now the chair of the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship, and remains a strong advocate for immigrants, both documented and undocumented.

This legislation replaced the Immigration Act of 1924, which favored immigrants from northern and western Europe. Proponents of the 1965 bill argued that immigration laws and quotas were discriminatory, and that American immigration policy should accept people not on the basis of their nationality. This also abolished the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Kennedy subsequently took a lead role in several other would-be immigration measures, including the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act (S. 1033) ("McCain-Kennedy") in 2005 and the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007, a bipartisan measure worked out with President George W. Bush which ultimately failed on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Gun politics

Ted Kennedy has been a staunch supporter of gun control initiatives. In 2006 he was one of the 16 senators who voted against the Vitter Amendment, which prohibited the confiscation of legally-possessed firearms during a disaster.

Energy policy

Ted Kennedy has generally favored alternative energy sources and opposed additional Alaska oil drilling. However, he opposes the Cape Wind wind turbine project.[17][18]

War on Terrorism

Though a supporter of the American-led 2001 overthrow of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, Kennedy has been a vocal critic of the American-led 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. He has also been a harsh critic of the way the invasion of Iraq was planned and conducted by the Bush administration. Kennedy also has said that the best vote he had ever cast in the Senate was his vote against giving President Bush the authority to use force against Iraq.

On September 27, 2004, Kennedy made a speech on the Senate floor regarding the war in Iraq, just prior to the 2004 U.S. Presidential election.[19]

In early 2007, just prior to President Bush's announcement that he would initiate a troop surge in Iraq, Senator Kennedy made a speech at the National Press Club opposing it.[20] Kennedy was the first Senator in the 110th Congress to propose legislation opposing the President's troop surge.

Northern Ireland

Kennedy has been outspoken in his views about Northern Ireland's constitutional question. In October 1971, he called for the withdrawal of British troops from Northern Ireland, and for all political participants there to begin talks on creating a United Ireland. [2][3]

In the Spring of 2005 however, Kennedy publicly snubbed Gerry Adams by cancelling a previously-arranged meeting, citing the IRA's "ongoing criminal activity and contempt for the rule of law." This decision was a direct result of the Northern Bank robbery in December 2004, and the murder of Robert McCartney the following month.[21]

Judicial appointments

From 2001 to 2003, Kennedy led a forty-five member all Democrat Senate filibuster to block the appointment of former assistant solicitor general Miguel Estrada to the United States court of appeals. When Estrada withdrew his nomination, Kennedy proclaimed it was a "a victory for the Constitution".[22]

Same-sex marriage

Kennedy is one of only five senators who have publicly announced support for same-sex marriage. Kennedy's home state of Massachusetts is the only state in the United States within which same-sex marriage is legal.

Electoral history

2006 United States Senate election, Massachusetts[23]
Party Candidate Votes % %
Democratic PartyEdward Kennedy (incumbent)1,497,30469.46%-3.15%[24]
Republican PartyKenneth Chase658,37430.54%-3.15%[24]
Majority838,93038.92%+17.66%<ref name="cnn2000" />
Turnout
Democratic Party holdSwing-20.81%


2000 Massachusetts United States Senatorial Election
Ted Kennedy (D) (inc.) 73%
Jack E. Robinson III (R) 13%
Carla Howell (Lib.) 11.9%


1994 Massachusetts United States Senatorial Election
Ted Kennedy (D) (inc.) 58%
Mitt Romney (R) 41%


1988 Massachusetts United States Senatorial Election
Ted Kennedy (D) (inc.) 65.6%
Joseph D. Malone (R) 34.4%


1982 Massachusetts United States Senatorial Election
Ted Kennedy (D) (inc.) 60.8%
Raymond Shamie (R) 38.3%


1976 Massachusetts United States Senatorial Election
Ted Kennedy (D) (inc.) 69.3%
Michael Robertson (R) 29%


1970 Massachusetts United States Senatorial Election
Ted Kennedy (D) (inc.) 61.2%
Josiah A. Spaulding (R) 37%


1964 Massachusetts United States Senatorial Election
Ted Kennedy (D) (inc.) 74.3%
Howard Whitmore, Jr. (R) 25.4%


1962 Massachusetts United States Senatorial Election

Ted Kennedy (D) 55%
George C. Lodge (R) 41%
H. Steuart Hughes (I) 2%
Lawrence Gilfedder (Socialist Labor) 0.2%
Mark R. Shaw (Prohibition) .06%

External links

Official sites

Kennedy in his own words

Nonpartisan information

Other links providing info

Further reading

  • Bly, Nellie. (1996). The Kennedy Men: Three Generations of Sex, Scandal and Secrets. ISBN 1-57566-106-3.
  • Burke, Richard E. (1993). The Senator: My Ten Years With Ted Kennedy. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-95133-7.
  • Clymer, Adam (1999). Edward M. Kennedy: A Biography. Wm. Morrow & Company. ISBN 0-688-14285-0.
  • Damore, Leo. (1988). Senatorial Privilege: The Chappaquiddick Cover-Up. ISBN 0-89526-564-8.
  • Levin, Murray (1966) Kennedy Campaigning: the System and the Style as Practiced By Senator Edward Kennedy (Beacon Press)
  • Levin, Murray (1980) Edward Kennedy: The Myth of Leadership. ISBN 0-395292492.

References

1. ^ [4]
2. ^ [5]
3. ^ [6] PBS Kennedy Family Chronology
4. ^ [7]
5. ^ Chris Black et al., Final memorial set for victims of Kennedy crash, CNN News, July 24, 1999. Accessed online December 26, 2006.
6. ^ [8] TIME Magazine 'Teddy & Kennedyism', September 28, 1962
7. ^ Ted Kennedy, NNDB
8. ^ Ted Kennedy: 1980 Democratic National Convention Address
9. ^ Ted Kennedy: The Dogged Achiever, Time, April 14, 2006. Accessed online May 6, 2007.
10. ^ Senate votes to raise minimum wage, Chicago Tribune, February 1, 2007. Accessed online February 22, 2007.
11. ^ Ted Kennedy pens children's book, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, January 9, 2006. Accessed online December 26, 2006.
12. ^ Sen. Ted Kennedy and 'America Back on Track', NPR, April 20, 2006. Accessed online February 22, 2007.
13. ^ A Tale of Two Teddies: Pro-choice Kennedy was pro-life in 1971, World NetDaily, August 3, 2005. Accessed online 26 December 2006.
14. ^ Dionne, E.J. "The New Liberalism: Democrats Need to Show Their Family Values", Washington Post, January 14, 2005; Page A19.
15. ^ Three Decades of Mass Immigration: The Legacy of the 1965 Immigration Act, Center for Immigration Studies, September 1995. Accessed online 26 December, 2006.
16. ^ U.S. Senate, Subcommittee on Immigration and Naturalization of the Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, D.C., February 10, 1965, pp. 1–3.
17. ^ Ted Kennedy on Energy & Oil, On the Issues (issues2000.org). Accessed online 26 December, 2006.
18. ^ Bending with the Wind
19. ^ Senator Kennedy delivers a speech at GW University: The Effect of the War in Iraq On America's Security. Originally on the home page of kennedy.senate.gov, archived on the Internet Archive 17 January 2006.
20. ^ Sen. Ted Kennedy at the National Press Club, YouTube.com, January 9, 2007. Accessed online 22 February 2007.
21. ^ Kelly, Garry. "Senator Kennedy snubs Adams as US recoils at IRA crime", The Independent, 2005-03-14. Retrieved on 2007-04-23. 
22. ^ [9]
23. ^ 2006 General Election Results - US Senate Boston.com as of 2:47 PM EST November 82006
24. ^ Election 2000 Results from CNN.com
25. ^ Election 2000 Results from CNN.com


United States Senate
Preceded by
Benjamin A. Smith II
Senator from Massachusetts (Class 1)
November 6, 1962 – present
Served alongside: Leverett Saltonstall, Edward Brooke,
Paul Tsongas, John Kerry
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Russell B. Long
Senate Majority Whip
Senate Democratic Whip

1969 – 1971
Succeeded by
Robert C. Byrd
Preceded by
James Eastland
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
1978 – 1981
Succeeded by
Strom Thurmond
Preceded by
Orrin Hatch
Chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee
1987 – 1995
Succeeded by
Nancy Landon Kassebaum
Preceded by
James Jeffords
Chairman of the Senate Health, Education,
Labor, and Pensions Committee

2001 – 2003
Succeeded by
Judd Gregg
Preceded by
Michael Enzi
Chairman of the Senate Health, Education,
Labor, and Pensions Committee

2007 – present
Incumbent
Current Committee Assignments
Committee Position
Armed ServicesSubcommittee Chairman
Health, Education, Labor, and PensionsCommittee Chairman
Joint Economic
JudiciarySubcommittee Chairman


Persondata
NAMEKennedy, Edward Moore
ALTERNATIVE NAMESKennedy, Ted
SHORT DESCRIPTIONAmerican politician; Democratic Senator for Massachusetts
DATE OF BIRTHFebruary 22, 1932
PLACE OF BIRTHBoston, Massachusetts
DATE OF DEATH
PLACE OF DEATH
Ted Kennedy can refer to more than one person:
  • Ted Kennedy, U.S. senator from Massachusetts
  • Ted Kennedy (hockey), professional ice hockey player
  • Ted Kennedy (priest), Australian clergyman
  • Ted Kennedy (baseball) (1865-1907), an American baseball player


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Type Upper House

President of the Senate Richard B. Cheney, R
since January 20, 2001
President pro tempore Robert C. Byrd, D
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''Nickname(s): Bay State State Bird = Black-capped Chickadee''
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Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy (November 20, 1925 – June 6, 1968), also called RFK, was one of two younger brothers of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and served as United States Attorney General from 1961 to 1964.
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