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Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (born February 22, 1932) is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. In office since November 1962, he is currently in his eighth full (and ninth overall) term in the Senate. Kennedy is the second most senior member of the Senate, after Robert Byrd of West Virginia, and the third-longest-serving senator of all time. The most prominent living member of the Kennedy family, he is the youngest brother of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, both victims of assassinations, and the father of Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy.
Kennedy was born in Boston and raised in Massachusetts, New York, Florida, and England. He was educated at Harvard College, where he was expelled for cheating on an exam but later readmitted, and the University of Virginia School of Law. His 1958 marriage to Joan Bennett Kennedy would later end in divorce. He was a manager in his brother John's successful 1960 campaign for president, then worked as an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Kennedy entered the Senate in a 1962 special election to fill the seat once held by John. He was seriously injured in an airplane crash in 1964 and still suffers from back pain as a result. Kennedy was elected to a full six-year term in 1964 and was reelected in 1970, 1976, 1982, 1988, 1994, 2000 and 2006.
In the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident, the car Kennedy was driving ran off a bridge and plunged into water, resulting in the death of passenger Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was given a suspended sentence; but doubts about his account of the accident significantly damaged his chances of ever becoming President of the United States. Kennedy's one run for the office, in the 1980 presidential election, ended in a primary campaign loss to incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter. Kennedy is known for his oratorical power, with his 1968 eulogy for his brother Robert and his 1980 Democratic National Convention rallying cry for American liberalism being his best-known moments. Kennedy's heated rhetoric helped lead to the defeat of the 1987 Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination and usher in an era of intense political battles over federal judicial nominations. Kennedy's personal behavior became the subject of public ridicule in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but his 1992 marriage to Victoria Reggie Kennedy stabilized his life.
Kennedy is the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Due to his long history of public service he became known as "The Lion of the Senate". Over 300 bills that Kennedy wrote have been enacted into law, and he is known for his ability to work with Republicans and to find compromises among Senate members with disparate views. Kennedy has played a major role in the passage of many pieces of legislation that have affected the lives of all Americans, including the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the National Cancer Act of 1971, the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974, the COBRA Act of 1985, the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Ryan White AIDS Care Act in 1990, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the Mental Health Parity Act in 1996 and 2008, the State Children's Health Insurance Program in 1997, the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002, and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009. During the 2000s, he was a leader of several failed efforts at immigration reform. Over the course of decades, Kennedy's major legislative goal has been enactment of universal health care, which he continues to work towards during the Obama administration. Since 2008, Kennedy has been battling a malignant brain tumor, which has greatly limited his appearances in the Senate.