The governor of Massachusetts has named former Democratic Party chairman Paul G. Kirk Jr. to temporarily fill the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat.
Former DNC head Kirk to fill Kennedy's Senate seat
Gov. Deval Patrick's announcement Thursday means Kirk will serve in the post until voters pick a replacement in a Jan. 19 special election. Patrick says the issues before Congress are “too important to Massachusetts for us to be one voice short.”
Kirk is a Kennedy family friend who served on the late senator's staff for eight years and is chairman of the JFK Library Foundation. Kennedy's widow, Vicki Kennedy, and son Edward Kennedy Jr. had urged Patrick to pick Kirk.
The appointment allows President Barack Obama to regain a 60th U.S. Senate seat he needs to pass a healthcare overhaul.
"He is intimately knowledgeable and supportive of the work that Sen. Kennedy was doing," said one of the aides, who, like the others, requested anonymity in advance of the official announcement. "He can start right away on that work. It's an opportunity in a short period of time to try to complete some of the work Sen. Kennedy has been working his whole life on."
Kirk, 71, served on Edward Kennedy's staff for eight years and is chairman of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation's board of directors. He's a Boston attorney who also has been a registered lobbyist for pharmaceutical companies.
Patrick was to make a late-morning announcement during a ceremony at the Statehouse attended by Vicki Kennedy, the senator's widow; Kennedy's children; and Sen. John Kerry, a Democrat who became the state's senior senator when Kennedy died.
Kennedy died Aug. 25 of brain cancer
What do you think? Post a comment on this article and share your opinion with other readers. Submit your comments to Modern Healthcare Online at [email protected]. Please be sure to include your hometown and state, along with your organization and title.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.