Statement by Alan Solomont on the Passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Aug 26, 2009

Washington, D.C. -- Alan Solomont, Board Chair of the Corporation for National and Community Service, made the following statement on the passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy:

“Senator Kennedy’s death is a monumental loss to the national service movement as well as to the country. There was simply no one else like him.

“Senator Kennedy had a special place in his heart for national and community service, born out of his family’s commitment to public service. He worked with the first President Bush to pass the 1990 National Service Act. He sponsored the 1993 law creating the Corporation for National and Community Service and the AmeriCorps program, and introduced the Serve America Act that now bears his name. Senator Kennedy has done as much as any leader to create a culture of service and civic engagement in our country.

“He will be remembered as one of the greatest legislators of our time, but he was also a man of enormous kindness and thoughtfulness. He also personified in his own life the values for which he fought in the public arena. Few know that he took time out of his busy schedule to tutor disadvantaged youth in Washington, DC, on a regular basis.

“For nearly a half century, Senator Kennedy was at the forefront of legislation to strengthen civil rights, education, health care, and disability rights. We are proud that among his passions was a commitment to national and community service. He fashioned the Serve America Act with his good friend, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. It was a classic example of Senator Kennedy reaching across the aisle and promoting one of his priorities in a bipartisan fashion. This was an example of what is best about our political system and democracy.

“I have no doubt that Senator Kennedy would want us to honor his legacy by redoubling our efforts to make service a part of every citizen’s daily life. As President Obama said of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act: ‘It is fitting that this legislation is named after Ted Kennedy, a person who has never stopped asking what he could do for his country. This legislation is not just a tribute to the service to which he has dedicated his life, it is a call to action for the rest of us.’”

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