Ted Kennedy is to be honored Monday at the opening of a Senate Institute. Those in attendance will include President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren, Republican Senator John McCain and others. The official name of the educational center is the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.
The idea for the Institute was actually Ted Kennedy’s that he had seven years before his eventual death due to brain cancer in 2009. It is located on Columbia point in Boston next to the John F. Kennedy Library. While in the Senate, Kennedy was popular on both sides of the aisle and was often considered the “Lion of the Senate.” Many did not always agree with his stance on issues, but he was a senator that both parties could engage with on important topics.
The Institute, built in honor of Ted Kennedy, cost $79 million to construct, and features a life-size replica of the Senate chambers. One of the primary purposes of the facility is to provide a location where students may come and role-play as senators in preparation for mock trial events. They will be able to debate major issues of the day in an environment not much different from that of what real senators experience.
Ted Kennedy spent 47 years in the Senate, but Elizabeth Warren, who now fills his seat, is an academic who began teaching at Rutgers School of Law-Newark, and eventually settled in at Harvard Law. She has gained much fame as a middle-class hero after overseeing the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, during the 2008 economic crisis, as well for being the brains behind that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She has been seen on The Daily Show with John Stewart and Dr. Phil.
This has been a tough seat for the senator to fill. Some have referred to this particular seat in Congress as “Ted Kennedy’s seat.” In fact, previous holder of this seat Scott Brown had to fend these remarks off by insisting, “It’s the people’s seat.” Under Brown, Massachusetts was being represented by a Republican, which felt strange for the population of this very “blue” state. Warren, having won back the seat for the Democrats in 2012, realigned the seat in Congress with a style they are familiar with, a liberal Senator who is not afraid to challenge views where she sees fit. Warren is currently working on developing more fully to of Obama’s trading deals. This tenacity is begging the question of whether she really has filled Ted Kennedy’s shoes as a lion on the floor of the Senate.
This event that is set for Monday will serve the purpose of honoring Ted Kennedy for his lengthy tenure in the Senate. Bostonians will see the event broadcasted on two local television channels. This is a big for Boston. Of the $78 million spent on this project, $38 million was raised by taxpayers, following Kennedy’s death, and it sits on the University of Massachusetts campus. From time to time, it has been said that Ted Kennedy retained his Senate seat because of his family legacy, but today, looking back upon the years of public service he gave, it is clear that his presence in the Senate can only be filled by someone who is willing to step up to bat for the interests of the people.
By Joel Wickwire
Photo by Xavier – Flickr License
Photo by Cliff – Flickr License