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WA politicians remember Sen. Edward Kennedy

Ted Kennedy was a fixture in Washington D.C. for decades, but he was known to people and politicians in Washington state as well.
/ Source: KING5

SEATTLE - Ted Kennedy was a fixture in Washington D.C. for decades, but he was known to people and politicians in Washington state as well.

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Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Congressman Jim McDermott, D-Wash., say the American people have lost somebody who can't be replaced.

"He was the master of the political process," McDermott said.

McDermott remembers Kennedy as an ally in the Senate - a proud Liberal willing to compromise when necessary.

"Although his speeches were rhetorically much to the left, he was a great pragmatic politician who could work with everybody," McDermott said. "His demonstration of that was a great learning tool for a lot of people. Unfortunately a lot of people haven't paid attention to that recently, but that's the only way we're going to get things done in this country."

He was a mentor for Murray when she arrived in D.C. as a rookie senator - a mom in tennis shoes. While she knew his death was coming, she was still numbed by the announcement this week.

"Somebody who has pushed me personally to be as good as I can be, and a great example of someone who cares not about himself but other people," she said. "To wake up this morning and hear that he is gone is really hard."

When she looks back on his life she sees a man who owned the Senate floor and made national headlines - good and bad - for nearly 50 years.

But she also sees a friend and colleague who understood that politics is a person- to-person business.

"Ted would be the first person to call you up late at night and say 'I know you had a tough day, but let's get up tomorrow and let's try it this way,'" she said. "When I lost my mom, he was the first person who called me."

He didn't make many trips to the Seattle area, but when Sen. Kennedy did make it over it captured a lot of attention.

He was in Seattle at a historic moment for Seattle's medical community - the 1975 dedication of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center on First Hill.