Local leaders remember Edward Kennedy

Edward Kennedy
Edward Kennedy

By Jamel Major - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Local leaders paused Wednesday to remember the life of Senator Edward Kennedy.  The longtime Massachusetts senator died of a brain tumor early Wednesday morning.

Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks said he was saddened Wednesday by Kennedy's death. Hooks easily recalled the longtime friendship he shared with the late Senator.

"I went to the FCC in 1972 and I starting working closely with him, from '72 to just a few days ago," Hooks said.

Not only did the two work together, but Hooks visited Kennedy once at his home in Massachusetts."

"I went to his home for a big political rally," Hooks said. "Senator Al Gore Senior was a candidate at that point.  I remember paying 500 dollars."

Those who personally knew Kennedy, called him the "liberal lion of the Senate," a man with an impressive list of legislative achievements on civil rights, education, and health care.

"The health care bill we're working on now is something he wanted to see passed," Rep. Steve Cohen said.

Kennedy pushing health care reform in Memphis when he made a stop at the Democratic Midterm Convention in December, 1978.

"I was a delegate to the national convention for him in 1980.  That was the first time I met him," Cohen said.

Cohen called Kennedy's death is a great loss to America, marking an end of an era of Kennedy brothers who served their country.

"Everybody revered him on both sides of the isle, and had respect for him.  He loved the institution," Cohen said.

Kennedy will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.  You can watch part of his December 1978 speech on health care reform, recorded in Memphis, in the video player on this page.

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