WASHINGTON (AP) — The late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts was memorialized Thursday as a tireless champion of working families at a Labor Department ceremony inducting him into the agency's "Labor Hall of Honor."
Kennedy served for 47 years in the Senate until his death from brain cancer in 2009, at age 77.
"There was and is no better advocate — or fighter — for working families than Ted Kennedy," said Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez, who worked for Kennedy in the Senate in the 1990s.
Many former Kennedy staffers attended the ceremony. "No one can say that Sen. Kennedy wasn't here today," Patrick Kennedy said in a tribute to his father.
During his time in the Senate, there were 10 presidents in the White House, including his brother John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Kennedy chaired the Senate committee that oversaw labor issues.
Elaine Chao, who served as labor secretary under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009, said that while control of the Senate alternated several times between Republicans and Democrats during Kennedy's tenure, it was always clear that Kennedy "was the de facto chairman."
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