Business Politics

Ted Kennedy

TED KENNEDY

Ted Kennedy is an incumbent senior United States Senator from Massachusetts. Having been in office since 1962, he is the second longest-serving member of the Senate. He has become one of the most influential members of the Democratic Party, and is sometimes referred to as the “Democratic icon.” Although critics consider him to be short of accomplishments considering his tenure, Time Magazine has named him one of America’s 10 Best Senators in April 2006. Kennedy has authored and fought for legislations that augmented the minimum wage in 1981, guaranteed various civil rights, funded Meals on Wheels for fixed-income seniors, and allowed easier access to health care for the impoverished.

Ted is the younger brother of former President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who were both shot to death in 1963 and 1968 respectively.

BACKGROUND

Edward Moore Kennedy was born on February 22, 1932 in Brookline, Massachusetts, to Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Ted is the youngest of nine children. He attended high school at Portsmouth Abbey School then transferred to Milton Academy where he graduated in 1950. Following family tradition, he entered Harvard College but got kicked out in 1951 for cheating. He thereafter joined the army and later re-entered Harvard where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1956. In 1958, Ted Kennedy attended Hague Academy of International Law in the Netherlands and earned his law degree from University of Virginia in 1959.

In 1958, he married Virginia Joan Bennett but they got divorced in 1982. The couple has three children. In 1992, he married Victoria Reggie. In 1964, he got hospitalized for months due to serious injuries brought about by a plane crash.

CAREER

Two years after passing the bar exam in 1959, Ted was appointed as Assistant to the District Attorney in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. In 1962, he was elected as the Senator from Massachusetts in a special election since his brother John had relinquished the Senate seat to become President. He was reinstalled in office in 1964, 1970, 1976, 1982, 1988, 1994, and 2000. In 1980, he challenged the incumbent President Jimmy Carter in the Democratic primaries where he lost. He retained his seat in Senate up to this day though. Presently, he chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and also serves on other Senate committees. He is also part of the Board of Advisors of Close Up Foundation and a President of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation.

THE KENNEDY FAMILY’S TRANSITION TO POLITICS

The Kennedys first gained recognition in the field of business. Patrick J. Kennedy is an Irish American businessman who got successful for his saloon business, investments, and his role in local politics. Patrick’s son, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., also became a successful businessman making it large in stock market, real estate, and other several industries. The Kennedys first took part in politics when Joseph supported Franklin D. Roosevelt’s bid for Presidency. As a reward, he was appointed the Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and from 1938 to 1940, eventually became the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Subsequently, the succeeding generations of the Kennedys produced prominent names in politics.