Iowa politicians express condolences to Kennedy family

Governor Chet Culver is the first Iowa politician to issue a statement to mark the death of U.S. Senator Edward "Teddy" Kennedy (D-Massachusetts).  Chet Culver's father, John Culver – the former U.S. congressman and U.S. senator, also issued a written statement this morning.  John Culver and Teddy Kennedy first met in 1950 when they were college freshman at Harvard. 

Here is John Culver's statement:

"Ted Kennedy was my friend for nearly 60 years.

"Ted’s love of life was matched only by a dedication to public service.  His capacity for friendship and devotion to family were extraordinary.

"The quality of his public service cannot be measured in years but in the many lasting contributions to a better life for people here and throughout the world.

"He will be remembered and missed not only for his incomparable and historic public service but for countless acts of kindness and thoughtfulness to friends and strangers alike.

"Those who knew him will always treasure memories of his laughter, humor and the joy of his company. Mary Jane and I send our heartfelt condolences to his  wife Vicki, whom he loved so much, and to Teddy, Kara and Patrick, to Caroline and Curran and to his beloved sister Jean."


DES MOINES – Governor Chet Culver released the following statement on the death earlier today of Senator Edward Kennedy:

"This is a very sad day for America. My prayers are with the Senator’s wife Vicki, his children, family members and all of those who loved him.

“Senator Kennedy was truly the lion and leader of the U.S. Senate, regardless of one's party affiliation. His record of accomplishment is unmatched. Ted Kennedy was a kind and gentle public servant who cared passionately about people across the country and around the world, especially those without a voice. He fought every day for 47 years in the Senate to improve lives and help people achieve their hopes and dreams.

“On a personal note, my father was a dear friend of Ted's for nearly 60 years. They were teammates on the football field as college freshmen in 1950. In addition, they served together in the U.S. Congress for 16 years. So, Mari and I were very fortunate to spend some wonderful times together with the Senator and his family. We will always cherish those memories and miss him a great deal.

“Senator Kennedy had a wonderful sense of humor, he was always there for his family and friends, and he had an unwavering faith and a generosity of spirit. These qualities and his record in public service will continue to serve as an example to all of us "

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin On the Passing of Senator Edward Kennedy

“Today my thoughts are with the Kennedy family as they mourn the loss of their father, grandfather, husband and patriarch.  Their grief is shared by all of us in Congress who have lost a friend and role model. I personally was honored to serve with Ted Kennedy and call him my friend.

“In Ted, Americans had a staunch advocate for the rights worth protecting: ensuring a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, making sure that every kid has the education and opportunity they deserve and the cause of his life, access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans.  I worked side-by-side with him to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act and will never forget his compassion for individuals with disabilities and the opportunity he gave me as a young senator to spearhead that legislation.

“As Congress continues its work on these and many other issues, we will remember Ted Kennedy every step of the way.  The liberal lion no longer roams the halls of Congress, but his legacy remains.

“We must now rededicate our efforts toward passing legislation to provide robust, quality health insurance coverage for all Americans.”

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Kiernan's Statement on Senator Kennedy's Passing
"Sen. Edward Kennedy was a champion for those whose voices too often go unheard in American political life: people living in poverty, with disabilities, those without health care.  His spirit will live on in the work of millions across Iowa, the nation and the world.

"Many Iowa Democrats, including myself, were first inspired to political action by the example of Sen. Kennedy and his family.

"His personal courage and singular determination to achieve his goals, in the Senate and in life, stand as a shining example of the difference one person can make.  While he was a towering figure, he made each of us believe we had a contribution to make to the cause.   In that way, in Sen. Kennedy’s historic words: “For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

"On behalf of all Iowa Democrats, we extend our thoughts and prayers to the Kennedy family in this difficult time."

Senator Chuck Grassley issued the following comment regarding Senator Ted Kennedy.

“The United States Senate will never be the same without Ted Kennedy.  His presence was enormous.  He fought hard, debated intensely and worked tirelessly for what he thought was right.  Senator Kennedy and I had a different point of view on most every issue, but he was an ally like few others when he was on your side.  Senator Kennedy leaves a legacy as a public servant and policy maker, and my wife Barbara joins me in sending our deepest sympathy to his family.”

Braley Statement on the Passing of Senator Ted Kennedy

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) today issued the following statement on the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA):

“With the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, our nation has lost a great leader.  Senator Kennedy fought for what he believed in and cared deeply for our country.  He never stopped fighting for working families and those less fortunate than himself.  Respected by leaders from both sides of the aisle and people from all walks of life, his tremendous legacy will live on in the Democratic Party and in the Senate,” said Rep. Bruce Braley.

Congressman Dave Loebsack’s Statement on the Passing of Senator Edward Kennedy

“Ted Kennedy was an inspiration to us all, and his work has touched each and every American. Whether it was protecting workers by ensuring fair pay for a day’s work or crafting programs that make sure our children have the education and opportunities they deserve, Senator Kennedy always fought just and noble causes.

“In my office, we are lucky to have a former staff member from Senator Kennedy’s office, and her commitment and strength proudly reflect the ideals of a greater nation. In Congress, as we continue our work, we will remember Ted Kennedy and his lifelong dedication to the American people.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.