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Republican praise for Ted Kennedy

I’ve received several dozen e-mailed statements from elected officials, advocacy groups, candidates and pretty much everyone else you can imagine regarding the death of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy. We’ll be carrying an article of reactions in tomorrow’s editions, but for now I thought I’d take a different tack and present here some of the statements issued by Republicans about the death of this liberal icon.

From Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger:

“Maria and I are immensely saddened by the passing of Uncle Teddy. He was known to the world as the Lion of the Senate, a champion of social justice, and a political icon.

“Most importantly, he was the rock of our family: a loving husband, father, brother and uncle. He was a man of great faith and character.

“Teddy inspired our country through his dedication to health care reform, his commitment to social justice, and his devotion to a life of public service.

“I have personally benefitted and grown from his experience and advice, and I know countless others have as well.

“Teddy taught us all that public service isn’t a hobby or even an occupation, but a way of life and his legacy will live on.”

From gubernatorial candidate and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner:

“I wish to extend my greatest sympathies to First Lady Maria Shriver and Governor Schwarzenegger on the passing of Senator Kennedy. The Senator’s commitment to public service will long be remembered. My thoughts and prayers are with both the Kennedy and Shriver families as this loss comes so close to the passing of Eunice Shriver. My heart goes out to all family and friends in this time of mourning.”

From House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio:

“The people of Massachusetts and the United States Congress have lost a tireless public servant.

“Ted Kennedy was my friend. While there were few political issues on which he and I agreed, our relationship was never disagreeable, and was always marked by good humor, hard work, and a desire to find common ground.

“Ted Kennedy was also a friend to inner-city children and teachers. For the better part of the last decade, Ted and I worked together to support struggling Catholic grade schools in inner-city Washington. By helping these schools keep their doors open and helping them retain their committed teachers and faculty, this joint effort made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of inner-city children, who otherwise would have been denied the opportunity for a quality education. It wouldn’t have been possible without Senator Kennedy and his genuine desire to give something back to help inner-city students in the city in which he’d served for so many years. I’m proud to have worked with Senator Kennedy on this project, and I will dearly miss his friendship and his partnership in this cause.

“Debbie and I extend our thoughts and prayers to Vicki and the entire Kennedy family at this difficult time.”

And, from U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah:

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Bay Area Congress members busy as bees

Your voices in Congress helped introduce a slew of legislation this week.

For example, Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee chairwoman Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, yesterday was an original co-sponsor of H.R. 1463 by Homeland Security Intelligence and Terrorism Risk Assessment Subcommittee chairwoman Jane Harman, D-Venice, which would condition U.S. military aid to Pakistan on whether U.S. officials have access to Pakistani nuclear arms expert A.Q. Khan and have assurances he’s being monitored.

“A.Q. Kahn is one of the most dangerous men in the world because he has done more to increase the threat of nuclear terror than anyone in history,” Tauscher said. “Now that a Pakistani court has all but freed him from house arrest, it is just common sense that our government, as well as the Pakistani government, does everything in its power to fully assess the damage he has caused to the international arms control regime.”

More on what some of your lawmakers were doing on Capitol Hill this week, after the jump…
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Pete Stark crows, dings McCain on Medicare vote

House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark, D-Fremont, had this to say about the U.S. Senate’s 69-30 passage today of H.R. 6331, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, which he and Senate Finance Committee Max Baucus had highlighted earlier this week:

“Today, with a veto-proof majority, the Senate joined with the overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of the House to pass legislation that averts a 10 percent pay cut for physicians, makes modest beneficiary improvements to Medicare, and is financed by reining in the Medicare Advantage program. H.R. 6331 is the minimum that we should do to protect and maintain Medicare. America’s senior citizens and doctors helped reluctant Republican Senators understand that as well.

“Senator Kennedy managed to make it back from treatment for cancer, but Senator McCain couldn’t be bothered. Senator McCain, who wants to be our next President, has skipped this vote three times now. Clearly, he’d rather hide than face up to the insurance industry. You can do that when you’re in the U.S. Senate, maybe voters should leave him there.”

UPDATE @ 3:44 P.M. WEDNESDAY: Now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, is piling on too…

“The Senate’s vote today is a remarkable testament to the powerful voice of America’s seniors, who made it clear that they would not allow the Bush Administration’s stubborn insistence on bloated, unnecessary subsidies for insurance companies stand in the way of quality, affordable, and reliable health care under Medicare.

“I join our Senate colleagues in welcoming back Senator Ted Kennedy, who was able to vote for this legislation despite his courageous battle against cancer. His vote today demonstrates his unwavering and remarkable commitment to one of his top priorities – improving health care in this country. That stands in stark contrast to the one senator who missed today’s vote, Senator John McCain.

“The overwhelming and bipartisan votes in the House and the Senate – both by veto-proof margins – send a clear message to President Bush that our efforts to strengthen Medicare for our seniors should become law, with or without his signature.”

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Californians speak on Ted Kennedy

The news that U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., has a malignant brain tumor brought statements of concern and support from several prominent California politicos including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose wife is Kennedy’s niece:

“Maria and I are thankful for everyone’s thoughts and prayers today and over the past several days. While we are still learning the extent of Teddy’s diagnosis and treatment options, what we do know is that Teddy is an incredibly courageous and tenacious man who will tackle this with the same determination with which he approaches everything in life. I encourage everyone to keep Teddy in their prayers, as we are continuing to do.”

From House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

“The news of Senator Kennedy’s health has been met with great concern. Senator Kennedy is a champion for health care for all Americans and a great fighter for America’s children, workers and seniors. This same strength and fighting spirit will serve him well in this challenge. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, with his wife Vicki, and with our colleague Patrick, and the entire Kennedy family.”

From U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.:

“My heart dropped when I heard the news about Senator Kennedy. On behalf of all Californians, I send him and the entire Kennedy family my sincere wishes for a speedy recovery. They are in our thoughts and prayers. There is reason for optimism. He has great physicians, a loving and beautiful wife in Vicki, and the indomitable Kennedy spirit. I look forward to the day when Senator Kennedy is back on the Senate floor, giving one of his famous stem-winder speeches. I hope that day will be soon.”

From California Democratic Party chairman Art Torres:

“Today’s news about my dear friend Ted Kennedy’s diagnosis took the wind out of me, as I know it did for so many Americans. Since Saturday and as recently as this morning, I have been on the phone a number of times with the Senator’s staff outside his hospital room, and I know that he is in good spirits, talking and joking. Ted Kennedy was one of the first people to call me when I was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2006. He helped me seek the right advice about treatment and encouraged me to fight and win. He has been a source of inspiration and friendship for me for more than 28 years. I now pray for him as he did for me, and also for Ted’s wife Vicki and his children, Ted Jr., Kara and Patrick. I know that Ted’s energy and resiliency will prevail. Ted is strong, vibrant, and I know he will recover and we will see him hard at work and back out on the campaign trail soon.”

From Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland:

“I was saddened to learn the news about Senator Kennedy today. First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with him, his wife, Vicki, my colleague and friend here in the House, Patrick Kennedy, and the entire Kennedy family. It was just a few short months ago that the East Bay welcomed Senator Kennedy to a rally for Senator Obama at BeeBe Memorial Church in Oakland. I had the honor of introducing the legendary Senator that day, and his fighting spirit was on full display. We all know that it is that sprit which will help him come through this crisis.”

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Debra Bowen wins ‘Profile in Courage’ award

bowen.gifCalifornia Secretary of State Debra Bowen is among this year’s recipients of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, cited for her imposition of strict new controls on electronic voting despite the political fallout. John F. Kennedy Library Foundation president Caroline Kennedy and U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., will present Bowen with the award at a May 12 ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner received the same award for similar work to ensure the integrity of her state’s vote, while a special lifetime achievement award goes to former Mississippi Gov. William Winter for leadership in championing racial equality and educational opportunity.

“As we prepare to cast our ballots for the next President of the United States, our confidence in the integrity and reliability of the voting process has never been more important,” Caroline Kennedy said in a news release. “Secretaries of State Debra Bowen and Jennifer Brunner have each demonstrated exceptional leadership in working to ensure that voting systems provide a full and accurate count of the vote. Our democracy depends on voter trust. Debra Bowen and Jennifer Brunner’s efforts to earn that trust have made them true profiles in courage.”

Per the release:

After a $450 million investment by California counties in electronic voting systems aimed at modernizing elections, newly elected Secretary of State Debra Bowen ordered an independent review of the new voting technologies to ensure they adequately protected the integrity of the vote. When the study revealed troubling flaws in the systems, Bowen strictly limited the use of direct-recording electronic voting machines, and imposed significant security and auditing requirements on systems to be used in California’s February 5 presidential primary election. Bowen’s decision was met with resistance by voting system vendors and many county elections officials.

The JFK Profile in Courage Award goes to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences. It’s named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, recounting the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers — incurring constituents’ or powerful interest groups’ wrath — by taking principled stands for unpopular positions. The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation created the award in 1989.

More on the award, after the jump… Continue Reading