September 24th, 2009
11:17 AM ET
5 years ago

Kirk chosen to fill Kennedy seat

Kirk will begin serving in the Senate immediately.
Kirk will begin serving in the Senate immediately.

(CNN) - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced Thursday he has chosen longtime Kennedy friend Paul Kirk to fill the vacant seat left open by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy until a special election is held in January.

Patrick said Kirk will begin serving immediately, not in the 90 days that the measure passed by the Massachusetts House and Senate allowing for the appointment stipulates. The measure, which passed both chambers Wednesday, includes a provision allowing the interim senator to begin immediately if the governor declares it is an emergency.

"He's a distinguished lawyer, volunteer and citizen and he shares the sense of service that so distinguished Sen. Ted Kennedy," Patrick said. "Paul will not seek the open seat in the special election that's coming up in January but for the next few months he'll carry on the work and focus of Senator Kennedy, mindful of his mission and his values and his love of Massachusetts.

Kirk is a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and currently heads the John F. Kennedy library in Boston.

"I was personally privileged to have had senator Kennedy's friendship, his trust, and his confidence," Kirk said. "He often said that representing the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the Senate of the United States was the highest honor that he could possibly imagine. And it certainly is nothing i imagined but it will be my highest honor as well."

Patrick said Kirk was chosen among 6 finalists for the post.

The appointment gives Democrats a crucial 60th vote in the Senate as the chamber weighs President Obama's health care proposal.

In a statement released Thursday, Obama called Kirk a "distinguished leader, whose long collaboration with Senator Kennedy makes him an excellent, interim choice to carry on his work until the voters make their choice in January."


Filed under: Ted Kennedy
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Wans't there a caveat that the law didn't take effect for 90 days? Did the hypocritical Dems actually declare 59 instead of 60 Democratic votes in the Senate an emergency? This is over the top even for Democrats. Can't wait to throw them all out in 2010.

    September 24, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. Jean

    What a bunch of hypocritical, partisan hacks the democrats are. It was Kennedy who sponsored changing the law back when they thought Kerry might leave his Senate seat to be President and they did not want the then Republican Governor seating a Republican replacement – coudld anything be more disengenuous, hypocritical and just plain partisan than this little game the dems are playing now. Just as well as it shows their true colors for all to see.

    September 24, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. no need to know

    this is a great pick.

    September 24, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  4. Jimmy the Greek

    The willful misuse of political power by democrats in MA is startling.

    But what does anyone honestly from a State who year after year has elected: Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, and John Kerry?

    September 24, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. 2010 is going to be a bloodbath

    I look forward to getting Deval Patrick out of office NEXT YEAR, you gutless fraud liberal sheep have no idea what is coming down all around the country.

    Keep dismissing what is going on in the country at your peril, WE are taking the country back and the first skin in Massachusetts will be Deval Patrick.

    This is going to be Christmas and Thanksgiving all rolled into one.

    September 24, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. Idiot_Pelosi

    Kennedy mafia continues....

    September 24, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. No More Incumbents

    Political corruption at its best, a Kennedy legacy.

    September 24, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. Steph

    This is a good choice for a temporary position. He has no plans to run in January, but he will fulfill Senator Kennedy's wishes. The people of Massachusetts should have full representation.

    September 24, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  9. Deb n Texas

    It's nothing but a good thing. This is great!

    September 24, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. kevin

    oh yeah. The kennedys once again get and have their way. oh yeah. Way to go. and this will be great for Mass right? heard there are great roads up there

    September 24, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. RobK

    Mass. Democrats have no shame. Completely hypocritical. Everyone voting for this should be removed from office.

    September 24, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    No big surprise here, after all we are no longer following constitutional law in this nation, we now have the ruling class of nobles. Only the elite class can rule.

    September 24, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. carol

    Politics as usual. Surprising how this went through when it was Senator Kennedy that changed the law when it was another party.
    Sick of same old, same old.

    September 24, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. The Wasabe Kid

    At least there will be one more vote in the Senate for rationality. The US Senate has historically been the most dysfunctional part of our democracy. The Senate has blocked or delayed almost every attempt to improve the nation and solve its problems. This is because a few Conservative Senators can gum up the works, and Conservatives never miss a chance to prevent anything and everything. That is the goal of Conservatism: prevention.
    Prevent the nation from solving its problems
    Prevent the will of the majority from being followed
    Prevent government programs from being successful
    Prevent justice
    Prevent good relations with other nations.

    Pick a problem and the Senate has delayed, blocked, or sabotaged it: freeing the slaves, eliminating Jim Crow laws, integrating the South, the 40 hour week, the 8 hour day, equal rights for women, equal pay for women, child health programs, whatever. Wherever the US is failing, there you will find a group of Conservative Senators throwing wrenches into the nation's gears.

    September 24, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. RobK

    The threshold for declaring an emergency has sunk to a new low in Massachusetts.

    September 24, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. The Wasabe Kid

    and the League of Nations. The Senate sabotaged that too, after World War I. Who knows how history might have been different...

    September 24, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. A Garcia

    You know if George Bush had asked a state to change the election laws in a hurry to fill a vacant seat and get a majority in the Senate everyone would be in an uproar. Obama (and he was "in favor" and "encouraged" this) has it done and everyone says it's a good thing. Go figure. The press isn't bias.

    September 24, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Patrick said he had the same "sense of service" that Kennedy had. I guess that means he believes in taking the hard earned money from people who work for a living and giving it to the dope smoking, non working, Oprah watchers as Kennedy and Obama and he sold his soul to the unions.

    September 24, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. Bill

    Kirk must be awfully proud of the way this was handled. Apparently "ethics" is not a word available in Mass. dictionaries.

    September 24, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. Massachusetts Hostage

    Kennedy politics at it's worst..............This is possibly the MOST BLATANT display of what the Kennedy "mystique" is all about. It's all about corruption and cronyism.

    TED Kennedy's was not an heir to any throne. He was supposed to be a public servant. If the family truly wanted to represent that notion, then they would demand the waiting period for an election....you know, where people elect their representative....not where the representative is foisted upon them by the Kennedy family. Clearly they couldn't care less.

    What a sham and a public disgrace ...aka Massachusetts Politics

    Please print this...the truth MUST get out

    September 24, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  21. Change_Has_Begun

    This is good news...please Mr. President just pass the health care reform with public option...we don't need TEA baggers and the Republicans...we can do it just by ourselves...this is too important to let the concept of bipartisanship sway us away from public option...

    September 24, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. Nancy

    I like it! A personal friend of Kennedy to consider choices he would have considered.

    September 24, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  23. turnip

    Would changing laws by Massachussets Hypocrats to suit the National Hypocratic Party's intrests be considered "Change we can believe in"?

    September 24, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. Liberals are Hypocrites!

    "He's a distinguished lawyer, volunteer and citizen and he shares the sense of service that so distinguished Sen. Ted Kennedy,"

    Since when is it justified to select someone to represent an ENTIRE state in the Senate just to acknowledge ONE individual? Since they need vote rigging in the Senate, of course!

    Just another example of blatant power grabbing by the Democrats.

    September 24, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  25. Peoples Voice

    Now if Sen Byrd can hang in there long enough to get the public option enacted we will be much better off as a country.

    Repugs and Blue Dogs, your days in office are numbered. We will rid this country of you.

    September 24, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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