Gubernatorial Candidates Remember Ted Kennedy

Senator Ted Kennedy will be remembered today at a funeral service in Boston.  The late senator will be later laid to rest in Arlington cemetery next to his brothers he eulogized over 40 years ago.   Several 2010 candidates for governor have provided their thoughts on Senator Kennedy’s passing and legacy.

Eliot Cutler:
Like my mentor, Maine’s own Senator Ed Muskie, Senator Edward Moore Kennedy was an extraordinary leader and legislator.   He understood the power of ideas and language, the value of comity and community, the importance of bridging differences. When he first ran for the Senate during his brother’s presidency, doubters decried his wealth and his name, saying he never would be elected if his last name were Moore.  As we mourn him today, we acknowledge that among an extraordinary set of siblings, it was he who gave his family name its greatest distinction.

Peter Mills:
I remember when Ted Kennedy was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962 at the age of 30.  He had no prior business or political experience except for a brief stint as an assistant prosecutor.  He was clearly too young for the job.  His victory was almost an embarrassment to the people of Massachusetts.

As he matured, however, he disclosed attributes that eventually made it apparent to everyone that he was the finest American law maker of the 20th Century.  He had wonderful diction, a natural gift for oratory and a powerful personal presence in any public or private setting.

He argued directly to the issue and not to the person.  He maintained strong relationships in spite of policy disagreements and exhibited respect for his fellow Senators no matter how distant they were from his own views.

He was a superb mediator who could find common ground long after others had despaired of compromise.  He was creative, persistent, knowledgeable and diligent.  It is said that when he made a promise or a deal, you could take it to the bank.  Trust and integrity were his legislative hallmarks.

To the extent that Congress is becoming an increasingly dysfunctional institution, it is because individual members have failed to grasp the lessons of Senator Kennedy and his earlier contemporaries like Bob Dole, Tip O’Neil, Everett Dirksen, and others who were such masters of the legislative art.

Les Otten Campaign:
Les is on a Maine summer “stay-cation” with his family and friends in Bridgton this week, so is unavailable for a direct comment.  I am sure, however, that he shares similar sentiments with the other gubernatorial candidates that Senator Kennedy leaves behind a legacy that we encourage all young people to aspire to – a life-long dedication to making our country as great as it can be.  Senator Kennedy was a larger-than-life public servant of the people and will be sorely missed in the halls of the U.S. Senate and throughout our nation.

Bruce Poliquin:
Senator Ted Kennedy was a honorable and dedicated public servant.  For nearly five decades, he faithfully served the people of Massachusetts.  During that span, he became an important voice in almost every significant public policy debate.  Though I may not have agreed with the Senator’s stance on a number of those issues, he proved that we can disagree without being disagreeable.  The people of Massachusetts will have a difficult time filling the shoes of someone with his influence and stature in Washington.

Lynne Williams:
As a campaign worker on Senator Kennedy’s 1980 presidential campaign, I had the opportunity to meet him on a number of occasions, both during and after that campaign.  The things that impressed me most about him were his commitment to making lives better for Americans, and the passion with which he pursued that commitment.  He was a pragmatic idealist, pursuing his goals tenaciously. Only when he concluded that he could not get all he wanted in a bill would he negotiate. Ted Kennedy was an expert politician, but a human being like the rest of us, who kept going strong through many personal tragedies, the most recently his cancer.  I will choose to remember the Ted Kennedy who, at the 1980 Democratic Convention, said “For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. 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.”

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