September 24th, 2009
11:17 AM ET
11 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. chubby

    Like democrats nation wide change the rules to fit your situation based on who is governor. Now to more important stuff than Mass is in Burlington,New Jersey elementary school kids are being taught a song to "Deal Leader". They are taught to sing praises to someone who has done nothing to deserve praise unless you are a third world dictator who also sings nobamas praises. What a sad and pathetic thing to read about. A cowardly loser having songs of praise by other losers and then by impressionable elementary school children.

    September 24, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. joe

    Well, the last of the original Kennedys is dead but the Kennedy family still rules. This is who they wanted appointed and this is who they got. Regardless of whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, this appointment and changing the law is to fit a situation that you created in the first place is absolutely wrong and should be unconsiutional in the State of Mass. This is wrong. The democrats should be ashamed but I know that hte are not because to have to morals and a conscience to seethat what is done is wrong and all politicians in this country are morally bankrput(Democrats and Republicans). Maybe the right anser is a dictatorship. Oh it appears that already exist in Mass......

    September 24, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. JP

    So this is an emergency?

    September 24, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. Farrell in Houston

    Great choice and a great representative for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

    September 24, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. Stan Spector

    I missed part of the story. They state that the governor must declair an emergency for the assignment to take place immediately. What was the emergency he was declairing?

    PS I'm a liberal democrat but something sounds fishy here.

    September 24, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - I spend all day blogging, contribute nothing to society

    This is a slimy partisan move by the MA Democrats. In 2004 they pass a law to prevent the sitting Republican governor from appointing a replacement for John Kerry if he had won the election (which thank God he didn't!). Now 5 years later when the very same law works against them, they change it back. Don't you Libs ever critisize Republicans for dirty deeds, because this one takes the cake!

    September 24, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. nathan smith ga

    this is great news for america

    September 24, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. Malcom

    Democrats playing power games once again and where is the outrage? None as usual from the liberal media. First we go back some years when Democrats remove the ability of the Gov to name a replacement when Mitt Rommney is gov, b/c they are afraid if Kerry won against Bush, Mitt would have appointed a Republican replacement. Fast forward to 2009 and Democrats once again play politics and decide to change their mind and pass another law to restore the Gov's ability to name a replacement. But that's not enough for Dem Gov Patrick. He doesn't want to wait the 90days as the new law stipulates, so he wrote a letter to the MA Secretary of State and declared an emergency, allowing him to name a successor now. No suprises from MA, the sad part is the citizens of that state giving a blank check to Democrats to act as they see fit.

    September 24, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. HEH

    good, another illigitimate democrat senator – perhaps he and Burris can lunch on the lawn together

    September 24, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. JP

    The governor thinks this is an emergency for the Democratic party.

    September 24, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Atta boy, Deval. Now when one the future Governors of MA happens to be a Republican, I hope you'll lead the charge to get this appointment power revoked once again!

    September 24, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. susie

    Democrats change laws whenever it suits their needs.

    September 24, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. Mike

    Check Fox They have a story about a New Song Praising The President. Report on it unless you are competeing with the History Channel. Do'nt get left behind again

    September 24, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. Navy Jack

    DEMS rule and make law for political expediency. GOP isn't much better.

    September 24, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. MarkD

    It is bad enough that the Democrats had to change the law back again to allow the Governor to appoint a replacement, but what gives the Governor the right to bypass the 90 day wait period stipulated by the Legislature?

    September 24, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. Rick CT

    What's next in Massachusetts – a law that says that only a Democrat can win an election?

    This is more than just mere sleezy hypocracy (Teddy Kennedy's last act). When a legislature can annoint powers on a chief executive (governor, president, etc,) solely based on the political affiliation of the chief executive, this creates a dangerous precedent that those who supported this (including our current President) could expand upon for even more power usurping actions.

    September 24, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. Thank you Massachusetts!

    As a Wyoming resident I have no voice in the health care debate - all 3 of my Congresspersons are complete & utter stooges to big business. Thank you massachusetts - your actions help not just your state but the whole country.

    September 24, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. Charlie

    So this is a emergency how ?? This is politics at it absolute worst!!!

    September 24, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. T'SAH from Virginia

    The REPUBLI-CAN'Ts are going to argue about this selection too... Watch!!! Does it matter what the person's status is when they TEMPORARILY replace another politician – Just wondering?

    September 24, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. Jimmy

    More from the Democratic destruction of America. Put an end to it and VOTE them all out of office. Take back our country!

    September 24, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. Think for yourself

    This is good news!

    September 24, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. kevin

    this is very disgusting. But not expected of the democrats. they will stop at nothing to cheap. but yes, i second that motion to have some real news like that news story in new jersey of those little tiny kids at that school forced to sing praise to Obama. Do they know the star spangled Banner yet? Do they know the pledge yet? do they know America the Beautiful? I'm sure they don't.

    September 24, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Nobody really cares what the GOP thinks anymore. They are better at cooridinating loud-mouth town hall meetings and tea bagger demonstrations with FOX news. Besides, how much influence could the GOP possibly have in Mass. ????? What's outrageous is that their constituents are getting little for what it is costing them in congressional salaries. Doesn't take much thought to say NO to everything and then whimp-out without any alternatives.

    September 24, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. Chris

    DIrty DIrty politics. Change the rules to suit themselves. Karma will get them.

    September 24, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. Can't wait for 2010

    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.

    Patrick showed his lack of fortitude by not picking who he wanted (Dukakis) and instead picking who the Kennedy monarchy wanted.

    No guts Deval, no E-ELECTION.

    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 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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