U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks on the floor of the Senate in honor of the late Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.):
• “In my maiden address, I proposed that we create summer academies for outstanding teachers in United States history. Ted Kennedy was on the floor—he was chairman or ranking member of the committee that handled that at the time. He came over and said, ‘I’ll get you some cosponsors.’ Next thing I knew he had 20 Democratic cosponsors for my little-bitty bill that I had introduced and however well I thought of him before that, I thought even better of him after. I think it’s a small example of why he was so effective here on what he really cared about.”
• “When he cast his 15,000th vote, I remember saying that the sure-fire way to bring a Republican audience to its feet was to make a speech against high taxes, against more federal control and against Ted Kennedy, and he laughed that great, big laugh of his. It was true. But almost everyone on this side will say that there was no one on that side who we would rather work with on a specific piece of legislation because no matter how much we might disagree with him—and we certainly did on many issues—when it got to the point where it was time to decide, ‘Can we do something?,’ he was ready to do something and his word was good and his ability to help pass an important piece of legislation was unquestioned. Plus we liked him. We liked his spirit. We liked his personality.”
• “But most of all, what I’d like to say is what I believe most of us feel. We’ll miss him. We’ll miss his big voice. We’ll miss his big smile. And we’ll miss his big presence.”
A full transcript of Senator Alexander’s remarks is available upon request.