Edward M. Kennedy
United States Senator (D-Mass.)
Live Webcast January 16, 2002, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT
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Outlook for 2002
Democrat Edward M. Kennedy is now the third-most senior member of the Senate, where he has represented Massachusetts for nearly 40 years. Health care and civil rights have dominated Kennedy's legislative agenda, and he currently chairs the Labor and Human Resources Committee.
The youngest of nine children of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, "Teddy" began following in the clan's political footsteps in 1962 at age 30, when he won the Senate seat formerly held by his brother, President John F. Kennedy. There, he took up some of the causes -- including championship of the poor -- that had been the focus of another brother, former attorney general, senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy.
In 1979, Kennedy tried to wrest the Democratic nomination for president from incumbent Jimmy Carter, but failed. He has generally rolled easily to re-election in the Senate, winning 73 percent of the vote in 2000. He has already announced he will run again in 2006, when he will be 74.
His recent achievements include the 1997 Children's Health Act, which expands federal medical coverage for children through age 18, and the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which allows those who change or lose their jobs to keep their insurance. Kennedy has also been active on education reform, raising the minimum wage, the environment and strengthening the rights of the disabled.
After serving in the Army from 1951-53, Kennedy earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1956 and his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School in 1959. He worked on his brother John's presidential campaign in 1960 and served as assistant district attorney in Suffolk Country from 1961-62.
Senator Edward Kennedy's Homepage