When Senator Edward M. Kennedy lost his battle with cancer, our nation lost a real champion of justice and equality, a man who truly understood the struggles of families in the United States, and a passionate, effective and tireless advocate for women’s and civil rights. At the National Partnership for Women & Families, we also lost a dear friend.
Senator Kennedy’s death marks the end of an era, when we could count on his vision and leadership to make this country a greater place for everyone. He was a partner we trusted completely to provide strategic guidance on a range of issues including health care reform, reproductive choice, paid sick days, women’s and civil rights, and other issues that are critically important to the nation. Not as well known as the Senator’s public positions were his keen political and strategic judgment, and his extraordinary capacity to bring together opposing parties to reach the agreements the country needed. Those were skills we treasured, and will miss terribly.
We also remember Senator Kennedy as a friend – someone who hosted events for the National Partnership in his home, who took the time to write a personal note if a family member was ill, and to call to say thank you when a bill we championed advanced.
Our work will be more difficult without Senator Kennedy’s presence and support, and our country will be much poorer without his leadership. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones, who suffered the loss of his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, so recently.
Senator Edward Kennedy was, in every way, a great leader. The greatest tribute we can pay him is to redouble our efforts to make his vision – of a nation in which every person has access to quality affordable health care, discrimination is no longer a problem, workplaces are family-friendly, and reproductive choices are secure – a reality.