Chicago Lawmakers Effusively Praise Kennedy

Sen. Ted Kennedy died Tuesday night

Sen. Ted Kennedy's trips to Chicago were as numerous as his accomplishments with some of this city's most well-known elected leaders.  Those leaders are now effusive in their praise for the so-called Lion of the Senate.

Kennedy died Tuesday night at his home in Hyannis Port, Mass. after a year-long battle with brain cancer.

"He was a very committed senator and very hard-working.  He was very well-respected on both side of the aisle," said Mayor Richard Daley on Wednesday.

"He was, by far, the tallest tree in the forest for social justice," said Rev. Jesse Jackson.  "Over a 47 year period he passed transformative legislation that would change the course of our country.  

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is out of the country on vacation, but issued a statement reflective of his colleagues great rhetoric:

"His voice roared as he battled for the poor and the victims of injustice, yet he had a smile that could light a room, a laugh that would draw a drowd and a heart always ready to share your sorrow."

From Jesse Jackson, Jr.:

"In the end, he will be forever remembered for giving much more to this world than he took from her; for carrying the Kennedy torch for so long."

Rep. Bobby Rush called Kennedy "an outstanding public servant" and "a prolific leader."

"He leaves giant shoes to fill as the country struggles to deal with the economy, health care reform and the revitalization of forgotten America," said Rush. 

There was at least one awkward moment in Kennedy's relationship with Chicago when he ran for president and was endorsed by then-mayor Jane Byrne. That offended Jimmy Carter, who then went on to become president.  

It was a tough time for Kennedy, recalls Chicago City Club President Jay Doherty, who has enjoyed a four-decade friendship with the senator, starting with a post-college mailroom job on Capitol Hill.

"Ironically, after that he devoted himself to become the best senator in the United States Senate," Doherty said.

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