Statement of Chairman John Burton on the Passing of Sen. Edward Kennedy

"The nation has suffered a great loss with the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy, who was a giant in the history of the U.S. Senate.

"Sen. Kennedy was a friend and ally for decades. We shared a passion for broadening health care coverage, protecting the rights of poor and middle-class Americans, expanding civil rights and so much more.

"Ted Kennedy was perhaps the most accomplished senator of our time. He created the Family Medical Leave Act and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. He passed countless measures to expand health coverage and improve education. He raised the minimum wage, enabled 18-year-olds to vote and opposed the Vietnam and Iraq wars.

"I consulted with Sen. Kennedy in 2003 when I passed SB 2, a bill that would have vastly expanded health care coverage in California were it not for a referendum.

"On a personal level, Sen. Kennedy and I shared other common bonds: We were both known as “liberal lions.” And we were both the baby brothers of prominent men.

"While Sen. Kennedy’s three older brothers died young in the service of their country, Ted was with us for 77 years. During that time, he worked tirelessly to improve all of our lives.

"My prayers are with his wife, Vicki, his children, his sister, Jean, his niece, Maria, his nephew, Bobby, and whole family. Ted Kennedy will be deeply missed."

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