Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Teamsters Mourn Passing of Ted Kennedy

August 26, 2009

The thoughts and prayers of 1.4 million Teamsters are with the Kennedy family today as the nation mourns the passing of one of the most influential lawmakers in American history.

“Ted Kennedy will stand as an inspiration to generations of Americans as a progressive icon. It’s rare for someone born into such privilege to be so concerned about the plight of working people, but Kennedy was such a person,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President.

Sen. Ted Kennedy attends a Teamster demonstration led by then-director of the Teamsters Safety and Health Department, R.V. Durham, on truck cab safety problems in 1978.

Kennedy was one of a few lawmakers always willing to tackle the truly difficult issues head on. His combination of political savvy, intelligence and empathy allowed him to effect more change in this country than even presidents can hope to accomplish.

Upon his death, Kennedy was chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Kennedy left an indelible mark on many aspects of American life. He championed progressive legislation on labor, health care, education, civil rights, immigration, welfare and many others. A common theme among his pet issues was to ensure that all Americans have the chance to live and work with dignity.

“Despite the long shadows of tragedy that hung over his life, Ted never allowed that to cloud his vision of a better America,” Hoffa said. “He cared deeply about the issues of working Americans, and his most cherished soapbox was health care reform.

“Kennedy’s willingness to reach across the political divide to find common ground with his opponents should be an inspiration to lawmakers struggling with health care reform today,”


President Barack Obama said...

-- Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy. For nearly five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts. His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives -- in seniors who know new dignity; in families that know new opportunity; in children who know education's promise; and in all who can pursue their dream in an America that is more equal and more just, including me. In the United States Senate, I can think of no one who engendered greater respect or affection from members of both sides of the aisle. His seriousness of purpose was perpetually matched by humility, warmth and good cheer. He battled passionately on the Senate floor for the causes that he held dear, and yet still maintained warm friendships across party lines. And that's one reason he became not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy. I personally valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I've benefited as President from his encouragement and wisdom. His fight gave us the opportunity we were denied when his brothers John and Robert were taken from us: the blessing of time to say thank you and goodbye. The outpouring of love, gratitude and fond memories to which we've all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure in American history touched so many lives. For America, he was a defender of a dream. For his family, he was a guardian. Our hearts and prayers go out to them today -- to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family. Today, our country mourns. We say goodbye to a friend and a true leader who challenged us all to live out our noblest values. And we give thanks for his memory, which inspires us still.

President Barack Obama

Anonymous said...

Yes, and Senator Kennedy was also one of two architechts of de-regulation of the trucking industry, which has virtually wiped out the Teamsters...interesting how they don't have the balls to say that...

Anonymous said...

here we go with the john hinckley negative comments. i guess taking benefits from workers with 30+ years is okay right john??? lets just stand by and rape some employees it is real tough taking benefits from employees. you are a clown

Chris said...

Andy Lessin quit blogging in without yo name grow a pair and leave yo name.