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Ted Kennedy will go down in history as one of the giants of the U.S. Senate and one the most accomplished legislators in American history. He will also be remembered, by those who knew him, as an extremely warm and caring human being whose public service was a brilliant reflection of his love and devotion to his country, his friends and his family.
As a member of the Senate health and education committee, chaired by Senator Kennedy, I was always impressed by his intelligence, knowledge and seriousness of purpose. His career in public service was driven by a deep sense of compassion and a belief that, in this great country, every American should be entitled to quality health care, education and other basic needs as well as equal justice under the law.
His passion was that every single American has health care as a right of citizenship. He understood that there was something lacking in our country today when we remained the only nation in the industrialized world that does not provide health care to all people.
At the end of the day, his view was that nobody should be left behind whether it was in health care, whether it was education, whether it was poverty in America. He felt very strongly about that.
Ted Kennedy devoted his lifetime to protecting those most in need, and tens of millions of Americans have been the beneficiaries. His absence from the Senate leaves an enormous void. His colleagues and the nation will miss him greatly.