It is with great sadness that we learned this morning of the death of our friend, Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
It is impossible to overstate the incredible impact and contribution that Sen. Kennedy made to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to workers across the United States, and to the field of health care. Whether it was the expansion and strengthening of Medicare, raising the minimum wage, insuring fair treatment for people with disabilities, or expanding the protections for women who are victims of pay discrimination, Sen. Kennedy was peerless in his dedication to and effectiveness at improving the quality of health care and improving the lives of workers.
He was also peerless in his advocacy for his beloved Massachusetts. There is not a health care institution in this state that has not benefited mightily from his fierce dedication over the last 47 years. Nurses, doctors, administrators, patients – we have all profited from his devotion to our health care infrastructure, our workers, and our patients. He was essential to the successful resolution of the St. Vincent nurses strike in 2000, backing the nurses in their opposition to the unsafe practice of mandatory overtime. He came to the aid of our members time and time again over the years, in ways both large and small.
We have lost an irreplaceable friend and ally, and we join others in deeply grieving that loss. We also, however, celebrate Senator Kennedy’s extraordinary life and remarkable accomplishments. We were so fortunate to have known him and to have had him as our friend. We will miss him terribly, but our lives are so much richer for having known him.
On behalf of all of the members of the MNA, we express our most heartfelt sympathies to his wife, children, and extended family.