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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Ted Kennedy Hailed ‘The Greatest Senator of All Time’

Vice+President+Biden+at+EMK+Dedication
Vice President Biden at EMK Dedication

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with many other high-ranking political figures in the country, hailed former Massachusetts senator Edward M. Kennedy, the “Lion of the Senate,” at the ceremony dedication of the EMK Institute for the United States on March 30, 2015.
“Ted understood the only point of running for office was to get something done—not to posture; not to sit there worrying about the next election or the polls—to take risks,” said President Obama. “He understood that differences of party or philosophy could not become barriers to cooperation or respect.”
Sen. Kennedy, affectionately known as Ted Kennedy, served in the senate for nearly a half-century. He was respected for his ability to build consensus, and for reaching across the aisle even when compromising seemed unthinkable.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, in his short remark, paid tribute to how potent Sen. Kennedy was. “Senator Kennedy was one of the most effective legislators in American History,” he said. “Not because he brought federal resources home [to Massachusetts], but because he brought our homes, our neighborhoods, and our voices to Washington,” added Mayor Walsh. “Our care has been his concern always. He fought for the children. He fought for the poor. He fought for the workers.”
“His life’s work was not to champion those with wealth or power or connections; they already had enough representation.  It was to give voice to the people who wrote and called him from every state, desperate for somebody who might listen and help.  It was about what he could do for others,” stated President Obama.
Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) said the late Sen. Kennedy was the greatest senator of all time. “Ted made impossible dreams come true as the greatest senator of all time in the United States of America,” he said. “Every minute he was working on the most important issues in the world.”
Many other elected officials and community leaders hailed the legacy of Ted Kennedy for his activism and leadership during his time in the Senate. “Teddy set high bar for his fellow senators, like the former and current ones who are here today,” said Vice President Joe Biden. “Teddy was always optimistic,” said Biden. “He believe[d] in the basic instincts and capacities of the American people,” he added.
Along those lines, President Obama challenged current senators over the ongoing gridlock in Washington, where Congress cannot agree on almost anything. He asked them to try to be like Sen. Ted Kennedy. “What if we carried ourselves more like Ted Kennedy?  What if we worked to follow his example a little bit harder?” he asked.
“The point is, we can fight on almost everything.  But we can come together on some things.  And those ‘somethings’ can mean everything to a whole lot of people,” President Obama added.
The Edward M. Kennedy Institute is built to carry the legacy of Ted Kennedy and his undying love for the Senate. The institute will be dedicated to educating the public about U.S. government, stimulating public discourse, encouraging participatory democracy, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders. “We are going to demonstrate the awesome power of our democracy, that is what the institute is about” said EMK Institute President Dr. Jean MacCormack. “We are going to light a fire in each of the [people] who walks through our door.”
Other elected official and community leaders who gave remarks at the Institute dedication ceremony include Republican Sen. John McCain, former Republican senator Trent Lott, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Connecticut state Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jr., Co-Founder and President of the Board of Directors of the EMK Institute Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, and our own Dr. Robert L. Caret and  Dr. J Keith Motley, respectively president and chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston.
President Obama echoed Dr. MacCormack’s optimism at having the Institute as a catalyst for change, and for encouraging participatory democracy. “May we all, in our own lives, set an example for the kids who enter these doors, and exit with higher expectations for their country,” said President Obama.