When I think of the name Kennedy I think of something great. I think of the art of perfecting something over the years until it becomes the best in its class.
The Kennedys are like the Jacksons of politics.
They have been at the forefront of the fight for the working class and the poor for so long, they are like the “go to” guys of Washington.
Arguably one of our country’s most influential senators, Sen. Edward Kennedy died Tuesday night after a short battle with brain cancer.
Kennedy was elected to the Senate in 1962 at age 30. His career stretched four decades lasting a whopping 46 years.
During this time Kennedy tackled American politics on things such as health, education, labor and pensions.
Known to his colleagues as “the liberal lion,” Kennedy often rallied for healthcare reform, which was a major part of his career.
Kennedy believed that every American should be guaranteed quality healthcare as a right and not a privilege. Kennedy’s stance on healthcare reform was most needed in American politics.
Millions of Americans including myself can’t afford healthcare in the difficult economics times we are currently facing.
Premiums are too high and too many of us are unemployed. As chairman of the Senate’s committee on health, Kennedy proposed an excellent rule that would require everyone to have some form of health insurance.
This issue is key because according to the latest U.S census bureau statistics on health insurance, as of 2007 there are approximately 45.7 million people in the U.S. that are uninsured.
Kennedy fought on the front line of this battle against healthcare alongside greats such as President Barack Obama.
Over the years, Kennedy has worked to use his influence as a legislator to develop new programs like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, the State Children’s Health Insurance Act (SCHIP) of 1997 and the Family Opportunity Act of 2006. But Kennedy didn’t stop there. He also used his influence to tackle some of the most important issues of today on education, labor and pensions.
He was also a strong advocate of civil rights,war and peace. In 2007, he led the first successful effort to increase the federal minimum wage for the first time in 10 years. His bill raised minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour.
Kennedy’s College Cost Reduction and Access Act allowed the largest increase in student aid since the GI bill.
For nearly half a century Sen. Kennedy’s voice has been the voice of the working class and poor heard on Capitol Hill.
Although Kennedy’s voice hasn’t been the only one, it’s been one of consistency and great influence.
When we lost Kennedy we lost a champion in American politics whose influence spanned decades.
For the past 46 years, Kennedy’s name has been on every major piece of legislation to leave the Senate. He has fought continuously for what he believes in even during his most recent battle with brain cancer that cost him his life.
Vernika Moore is a junior public relations student from Fort Lauderdale. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org