August 20, 2009

Ailing Kennedy Urges His Senate Seat Be Filled Quickly

Posted: 12:16 PM ET

By Frank Phillips via The Boston Globe

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, in a poignant acknowledgment of his mortality at a critical time in the national health care debate, has privately asked the governor and legislative leaders to change the succession law to guarantee that Massachusetts will not lack a Senate vote when his seat becomes vacant. art_kennedy_gi

In a personal, sometimes wistful letter sent Tuesday to Governor Deval L. Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Kennedy asks that Patrick be given authority to appoint someone to the seat temporarily before voters choose a new senator in a special election.

Although Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, does not specifically mention his illness or the health care debate raging in Washington, the implication of his letter is clear: He is trying to make sure that the leading cause in his life, better health coverage for all, advances in the event of his death.

In his letter, which was obtained by the Globe, Kennedy said that he backs the current succession law, enacted in 2004, which gives voters the power to fill a US Senate vacancy. But he said the state and country need two Massachusetts senators.

“I strongly support that law and the principle that the people should elect their senator,’’ Kennedy wrote. “I also believe it is vital for this Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens and two votes in the Senate during the approximately five months between a vacancy and an election.’’


Filed under: Congress • Kennedy

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Michael C. McHugh   August 20th, 2009 2:02 pm ET

It's too bad. They really needed him in the Senate right now. Things would be going a lot better for the Dems if he was there.

I have often wondered Kennedy why it is that so much tragedy seems to stalk the Kennedy family. I do wish Robert Kennedy and Ted Kennedy had gotten their chance to be president. They would have been a million times better that what we did get.

Lori   August 20th, 2009 6:31 pm ET

Stay strong, Teddy. Prayers are coming your way.

frankie   August 20th, 2009 8:05 pm ET

He has a beautiful & devoted wife, Victoria, wish them good luck ! hope they are taking photos of the entire family to treasure...

Dodie ~ California   August 20th, 2009 9:23 pm ET

I was not impressed with Ted Kennedy in the 60's and 70's, but since then, he has been my Icon! My heart goes out to his family!

Teddy! Thank you for all that you have done!!! Take care!

george   August 20th, 2009 10:55 pm ET

I wish him well, it's been a colorful, heartbreaking life....too many tragedies ..only the Lord knows his future...we loved Robert Kennedy..he was the smallest brother..wish he had the golden opportunity to be the President...

Mark in St. Louis   August 21st, 2009 9:46 am ET

Of course he wants the seat filled quickly. That would help the Dems with their one-sided agenda. Even near death, it's all about the power. Pitiful.

Ted   August 21st, 2009 12:45 pm ET

The Kennedy family is wealthy, they could sit back and enjoy the luxury their money can buy.
Yet they are our in front fighting for the rights and well being of those who are not so fortunate. We can thank Ted Kennedy a lot and we wish an equally oriented person takes his seat. In this situation we cannot efford to have his seat vacated.
Good luck, Mr. Senator, I worked for your brother in Boston and appreciate the contributation of the Kennedy family to our country.

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