Colorado politicians eulogize Kennedy

The tributes are pouring in to U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who died late Tuesday night at age 77 at his home on Cape Cod from brain cancer. Here are some reactions from Colorado political leaders:

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who served in the Senate with Kennedy before his Cabinet appointment:

We have lost a great leader and a great man today. Senator Kennedy was not just a colleague but a friend who inspired me, as he inspired so many, to serve this great country, to seek justice, and to care for the least among us. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. He will be sorely missed.

Sen. Mark Udall:

The arc of Ted Kennedy’s life touched every progressive cause for nearly half a century. Whether it was civil rights or health care, eliminating poverty or pollution, Ted brought fire and passion to every cause he championed. What made him an effective Senator and a great leader, however, was his essential pragmatism. At its best, politics is a people business, where bridging differences matters. Ted Kennedy was not just a crusader for great causes, he was also a champion of compromise.

My thoughts and prayers are with Vicki, Senator Kennedy’s children, and his entire family.

Sen. Michael Bennet:

Ted Kennedy leaves a legacy of great accomplishment and extraordinary leadership. He was a dedicated public servant, a master legislator, and above all a fighter for economic and social justice. The Senate will miss the rare combination of idealism and pragmatism he brought to advancing the causes he held dear.

Gov. Bill Ritter:

Today Colorado joins the nation in mourning the loss of Sen. Ted Kennedy, a tireless advocate for those who live on the margins. His unparalleled dedication to improve civil rights, health care and the plight of working families has left an indelible mark on the country and Colorado. As one of America’s most eloquent, determined and intelligent leaders, Sen. Kennedy was an inspiration to public servants everywhere.

I will forever be inspired by the words he spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Colorado on Aug. 25, 2008, exactly one year before his death: “The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives one.”

Former Sen. Gary Hart, who served two terms in the U.S. Senate with Kennedy, from 1975-1987:

I had the great fortune to know Ted Kennedy as a friend and former Senate colleague. He was a voice for justice; he was a crusader for equal rights for all; he was a fighter for the poor and dispossessed; and he now joins his brothers in the best political heaven there can be. I miss his laughter.

Talking Points Memo rounds up more reactions from national and world leaders to Kennedy’s death.

CORRECTION: Ritter’s office sent out a revised statement Wednesday afternoon to correct his original statement, which “contained an incorrect quote from Sen. Kennedy’s speech at last year’s Democratic National Convention in Denver.” Ritter’s reaction has been corrected to reflect his new statement.

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Ernest Luning

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