State, national leaders react to Sen. Kennedy’s death.
Attorney General Martha Coakley
“It is with profound sadness that we mourn the loss of Senator Ted Kennedy. Massachusetts has lost a son, and the nation has lost a great and compassionate statesman.
“Senator Kennedy had a tremendous impact on our Commonwealth and indeed the entire country. He remained tirelessly committed to fighting for his constituents, especially on the issue of health care, even while fighting his own personal battle with cancer.
“Massachusetts was truly blessed to have had him as our senator. We will always remember his courage and his tenacity. We honor his life and his legacy.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the senator’s family during this sad time.”
State treasurer Tim Cahill
“His affect on the city of Quincy was significant as was his ability to work with people from all walks of life. On a personal level, I was proud to cast the vote for him for president in 1980 and many times thereafter.”
Cardinal Sean O’Malley
“Today we mourn the passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and we extend our heartfelt prayers and sincere condolences to his wife Victoria and their children, Kara, Edward, Patrick, Curran and Caroline. Senator Kennedy was blessed with a dedicated and loving family who stood by his side, particularly during the past year as he faced his illness with courage, dignity and strength.
“We join with his colleagues in Congress and the people of Massachusetts in reflecting on his life and his commitment to public service. For nearly half a century, Senator Kennedy was often a champion for the poor, the less fortunate and those seeking a better life. Across Massachusetts and the nation, his legacy will be carried on through the lives of those he served.
“We pray for the repose of his soul and that his family finds comfort and consolation in this difficult time.”
Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director of Health Care for All
“I had the tremendous privilege to work for the senator and I believe there could be no greater honor for him and his life's work than to pass meaningful health care reform now. We will continue to persevere to bring access to health coverage that will allow all of us to live the fullest, healthiest lives possible. We believe it is right thing to do and the senator believed that, too.”
National Democratic Party Chairman Tim Kaine
“Today we mourn the loss of one the greatest and most consequential political figures in American history with the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy.
“Senator Kennedy was adored by millions of Americans and was respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle for his energy, his passion, his humor, his compassion, his friendship and above all his commitment to serve his country in pursuit of a more common good for every American.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that Senator Kennedy devoted his entire adult life - in the great tradition of the Kennedy family - to public service. And, in his 46 years in the Senate, Senator Kennedy's primary focus - and the legacy he will be most remembered for - will be his work to improve the plight of ordinary Americans, to empower the powerless and to end the scourge of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability and economic background that was all too prevalent in an earlier time.
“For his efforts to ensure civil and voting rights for minorities to equal rights for women, Senator Kennedy was a champion. For providing health care to millions of our nation's children to fighting for the cause and rights of workers and organized labor, Senator Kennedy was a hero. For working to improve education and educational opportunities for children and college students to fighting for the security and dignity of older Americans, Senator Kennedy was an icon. And, for his career-long pursuit of quality, affordable health care for every American, a cause he was devoted to until the very end, Senator Kennedy was an inspiration to millions of Americans who are fighting today for that just cause.
“In the Senate, he was called the Lion. To the Democratic Party whose values and ideals were embodied in and shaped by this great man, he was a giant. To the American people, he will be remembered as one of the greatest and most accomplished legislators in American history. And to his family he will be remembered as a father, a husband, an uncle, a brother, a grandfather and a friend.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Kennedy family as we mourn the loss and celebrate the extraordinary life of Senator Edward Moore Kennedy.”
House Minority Leader Bradley Jones, R-Reading
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Senator Edward Kennedy during this difficult time. Though I rarely agreed with the Senator’s politics, I always had the utmost respect for him and his advocacy on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth. As a Senator, he worked tirelessly to better the lives of his constituents and for that I will forever be grateful. As his loved ones continue to mourn the loss of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, I hope they can find strength in knowing both of them dedicated their lives to serving the public. Massachusetts has lost its most effective advocate, whose service and dedication is irreplaceable.”
U.S. Sen. John Kerry
"We have known for some time that this day was coming, but nothing makes it easier. We have lost a great light in our lives and our politics, and it will never be the same again. Ted Kennedy was such an extraordinary force, yes for the issues he cared about, but more importantly for the humanity and caring in our politics that is at the center of faith and true public service.
“No words can ever do justice to this irrepressible, larger than life presence who was simply the best -- the best senator, the best advocate you could ever hope for, the best colleague, and the best person to stand by your side in the toughest of times. He faced the last challenge of his life with the same grace, courage, and determination with which he fought for the causes and principles he held so dear. He taught us how to fight, how to laugh, how to treat each other, and how to turn idealism into action, and in these last fourteen months he taught us much more about how to live life, sailing into the wind one last time. For almost 25 years, I was privileged to serve as his colleague and share his friendship for which I will always be grateful.
“Teresa and I send all our love to Vicki, Teddy Jr., Patrick, Kara and their family, and to the entire Kennedy family for whom Teddy was always a rock at times like this. Massachusetts and our entire nation feels their loss and grieves with them.”
State Rep. James Cantwell, D-Marshfield
“He brought some of the most exceptional people into public service because of his lifelong commitment to help others ... I think he will go down in history with Daniel Webster – who was from Marshfield – as two of the greatest senators in our entire nation.”
Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth
“I am deeply saddened by the news of Senator Ted Kennedy’s passing. Senator Kennedy truly was the lion of the U.S. Senate. A stalwart of political and social progress, he dedicated his life to this country and the Commonwealth.
“While many identified him as the last stronghold of an iconic political family held up by some as American royalty, his means and his muster were always much closer to the ground. From the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the current debate on national health care reform, Senator Kennedy assembled an agenda that addressed the needs of the common man and the most vulnerable of our citizens.
“In a career that spanned nearly five decades, he was a tireless advocate, statesman and fighter who changed the landscape for Americans with disabilities and children with special needs, codifying services and reshaping our cultural mindset. And, always, he was a champion for Massachusetts. Our strongest voice on Capitol Hill. His devotion, service and accomplishment unmatched.
“He has left a legacy that will not be forgotten and that will serve as model and inspiration for future leaders and for the future of all Americans. As Senator Kennedy himself once said: ‘The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dreams shall never die.’
“My thoughts, prayers and well wishes are with Senator Kennedy’s wife, Vickie, his children and the entire Kennedy family.”
Gov. Deval Patrick
“One of the Commonwealth's brightest lights went out last night. Ted Kennedy was a compassionate, effective, visionary statesman, family man and friend. Diane and I were blessed by his company, support and many kindnesses, and miss him profoundly. We pray for comfort for his beloved wife and partner Vicki and his entire family.”
The Kennedy family
“Edward M. Kennedy – the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply – died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port. We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.”
Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray
“This is a profound loss for our Commonwealth, our country, and people around the world who have had Senator Kennedy as their champion for peace and justice. I am deeply saddened by his passing and I extend my sympathies to his wife Vicki, his children and the entire Kennedy family. We all know of Senator Kennedy's reputation as a statesman and a leader in the United States Senate. For me, he has been an inspirational figure for decades. I will be forever grateful that I had the privilege of getting to know him and of working with him from my earliest days as a city councilor and then as mayor in Worcester. Senator Kennedy may have walked with presidents and prime ministers, but he was always accessible to the people of Massachusetts and he was dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals and families in every region of the state that he loved.”
State Rep. Garrett Bradley, D-Hingham
“He will go down as one of the greatest senators in this country’s history. It’s a tremendous loss to Massachusetts and for the country. He had the unique ability to reach across party lines and to try to find consensus on issues and he had a unique way of making you feel that he was only talking to you and your issue was important to him in that moment.”
State Sen. Michael Morrissey, D-Quincy
“He’s been a remarkable person with a very long and distinguished career, and I don’t think you’ll see that type of service in the near future.”
James Cassetta, CEO of Work Inc. in Quincy
“The Work Inc. community is deeply saddened by the loss of Senator Kennedy who was always a champion of the disabled community. His immense presence on the national political scene touched the lives of so many in our world through his perseverance and commitment to those who had so little voice in national politics. In keeping with the great tradition of serving the disadvantaged members of our society, a hallmark of a just and moral society, Senator Kennedy took the extra steps needed to insure that disabled individuals had the right to work and be productive members of their community. Work Inc., which provides vocational opportunities for disabled individuals, has always enjoyed a unique relationship with the Kennedy family. The agency provides complete facilities management of the John F Kennedy Library and the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a testament of the family's values championed by Senator Kennedy to make the lives of individuals with disabilities richer and more independent. He will be deeply mourned by all who believe that everyone has the right to work and be involved with their communities.
“It is tempting to say that we shall not see his like again, but I think the greatest tribute any of us can offer to the towering legacy of Senator Kennedy is to pick up the torch he has laid down and continue his fight and his dream, of compassion and caring for those who need our help, and for justice and fairness for all our citizens, both in our country and throughout the world.”
Michael Weekes, CEO of the Provider’s Council, state’s largest group of human services organizations
“Our society's most vulnerable residents have lost one of their greatest champions. Ted Kennedy's dedication to promoting the American Dream of fairness, hope and opportunity was legendary, and his legislative achievements on the national stage were unparalleled. While his light has now dimmed, he has ignited lights of promise around the nation. Our prayers are extended to his wife Vicki, and to the entire Kennedy family.”
Compiled by The Patriot Ledger