It was a year ago today that I was awakened by a phone call from my father in D.C., telling me that Senator Ted Kennedy had passed away after his battle with brain cancer. Although he had been declared terminal, I still could not help but to feel some shock obviously mixed with a lot of sadness. He died just a couple of weeks after his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Avid readers of my blog know that I met Senator Kennedy in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where both of our families had been on holiday, staying on neighboring islands. My mother saw him waiting for his ferry as we waited for ours to leave the mainland. During that time, I was studying for the GRE with the hope of attending the Kennedy School for a Masters in Public Policy.
After introducing myself to the senator, my conversation began with some questions to gain more insight on the program at KSG. He offered some great advice about the school, then proceeded to tell us where he loved to go nearby for clam chowder. As our conversation progressed, I found myself asking him for the opportunity to work in his office. Two weeks later, after running into him again in the hall of the Russell Senate Office Building, I began assisting one of his speechwriters and a counsel, who was also very new to his staff.
It was the greatest job I ever had and Senator Kennedy's leadership and advice helped to set me on a very successful path in politics, broadcasting and health care.
Like many other young staffers, I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in Senator Kennedy's office and will always be thankful that he took the time to help me, just a month after college graduation, follow my dream. Some politicians encourage young people to become future leaders. Senator Kennedy showed us how to do it!