Our Lost Patriarch

The Kennedy family and the Senate family have together lost our patriarch. My thoughts and prayers, and those of the entire United States Senate, are with Vicki, Senator Kennedy's children, his many nieces and nephews, and his entire family.

It was the thrill of my lifetime to work with Ted Kennedy. He was a friend, the model of public service and an American icon.

At so many difficult times in their family's history, the Kennedys have turned to their Uncle Ted for comfort. And at so many critical times in our country's history, America has turned to Ted Kennedy for the same.

We remember how he walked solemnly with a grieving First Lady in Arlington; how his deep love for his brother helped him somehow summon the strength to deliver a defining eulogy in New York; how, as patriarch, he memorialized his nephew off the shores of Massachusetts.

For decades, Ted Kennedy was a rock to his family. And the impact he has etched into our history will long endure.

It is now left to us to remember the man who helped remember the lives of so many others. It is now up to us to celebrate the Senator who helped so many live better lives.

I have been a devotee of the Kennedys since my time at Utah State University, where I founded the first Young Democrats Club. President Kennedy sent me a letter at that time, which I still have hanging in a prominent place in my office. Every time Senator Kennedy came into my office, he would stop and read his brother's letter.

I appreciate immensely the opportunity to go from the Young Democrats Club to working with such a strong champion of what Democrats stand for: equality, opportunity and progress.

Senator Kennedy's legacy stands with the greatest, the most devoted, the most patriotic men and women to ever serve in the halls of government.

Because of Ted Kennedy, more young children could afford to become healthy. More young adults could afford to become students. More of our oldest citizens and our poorest citizens could get the care they need to live longer, fuller lives. More minorities, women and immigrants could realize the rights our founding documents promised them.

And more Americans could be proud of their country.

Ted Kennedy's America was one in which all could pursue justice, enjoy equality and know freedom.

Ted Kennedy's life was driven by his love of a family that loved him, and his belief in a country that believed in him.

Ted Kennedy's dream was the one for which the founding fathers fought and for which his brothers sought to realize.

The liberal lion's mighty roar may now fall silent, but his dream shall never die.