Ailing Sen. Kennedy Asks For Quick Succession

August 20, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Underscoring his declining health, cancer stricken Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has sent an urgent letter to Governor Deval Patrick, state Senate President Therese Murray, and state House Speaker Robert DeLeo asking that they change state law to allow a speedy replacement of him in Congress, The Boston Globe reported late Wednesday .  The Senator does not want his state to be without a vote if his seat becomes vacant, at a time when Congress is considering an overhaul of the nation’s health care system, a life cause of Kennedy’s.  A brain tumor has kept Kennedy away from the Capitol for much of the last 15 months and speculation is his condition has worsened since he did not attend his sister Eunice’s funeral last week.

According to the Globe, which obtained a letter drafted in early July but not sent until this week, the ailing senator wrote that he still backs the state’s existing succession law, which gives voters the authority to fill a Senate vacancy.  However he’s asking that the Governor be granted the power to temporarily appoint someone to the seat before a new senator is elected in a special election.

“I strongly support that law and the principle that the people should elect their senator,’’ Kennedy wrote. “I also believe it is vital for this Commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens and two votes in the Senate during the approximately five months between a vacancy and an election.’’

Discussions about pursuing a change in the law apparently began months ago,  but the current law was passed in 2004, by Democratic lawmakers, who did not want to give Governor Mitt Romney the chance to fill John Kerry’s seat with a Republican if Kerry won the presidency. Democratic lawmakers are nervous about being accused of engineering a self-serving change to help their party.


2 Responses to “Ailing Sen. Kennedy Asks For Quick Succession”

  1. hsr0601 on August 20th, 2009 1:45 pm

    In spite of the highest annual health plan cost per employee, the revolutionary mandatory-coverage plan in Massachusetts was enacted in 2006 and more than 97% of all Massachusetts residents are now covered — whereas nationally some 40% of Americans have no health insurance.

    Even though the state is suffering financially due to the highest premiums, without the affordable public option and removing all kinds of wastes etc, it achieved near universal health program.

    I think now is the time to consider sustainable power for Now and the Future as time does not fix energy depletion.

  2. Laura B on August 20th, 2009 2:05 pm

    I think Democrats should be concerned about being accused of engineering a self-serving change. It looks especially bad because Kennedy was the voice behind changing it to it’s current way so that Romney couldn’t appoint a Republican senator. Kennedy has known about his terminal illness long enough that he could have stepped down and had plenty of time to elect another senator.

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