Former Colleagues Pay Tribute to Their Friend
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.)
President John F. Kennedy was fond of quoting the biblical passage that tells us: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.— (Luke 12:48, KJV) When I think of that passage, I think of the life, career and accomplishments of his brother, my dear friend and colleague, Sen. Edward Kennedy.
When Ted Kennedy came to the Senate in 1962, much had already been given to him. He had been born into a wealthy and remarkably talented family. His father, a financial genius, had been an ambassador to England and the very first commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission. One of his brothers had been a U.S. Senator and was then president of the United States. Another brother was the attorney general of the United States.
As for Edward Kennedy, himself, he had attended two of our country’s premier educational institutions, Harvard College and the University of Virginia; and, he had already accumulated a lifetime of political experience when he came to the Senate.
Therefore, as the Scripture tells us, we had a right to expect much from Edward Kennedy when he came to the Senate — and, he delivered!
In the Senate, Sen. Kennedy became one of the most effective national legislators in history. His imprint is on nearly every piece of progressive legislation crafted during the past five decades. The Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Age Discrimination Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act and increases in the federal minimum wage.
He was the Senate’s Mr. Health Care. He was the Senate’s Mr. Civil Rights. He was the Senate’s Mr. Human Rights. Although born to a life of privilege, Ted Kennedy dedicated his life to public service.