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Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy

Former Senator for Massachusetts

Kennedy was a senator from Massachusetts and was a Democrat. He served from 1962 to 2009.


On July 18, 1969, Kennedy faced an allegation of leaving the scene of an accident after driving a car into the Poucha Pond inlet while his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne drowned. On Jul. 25, 1969, he pleaded guilty and received a suspended sentence.

Jul. 25, 1969 Pleaded guilty and received a suspended sentence.
Photo of Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy [D-MA, 1962-2009]


Ideology–Leadership Chart

Kennedy is shown as a purple triangle in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot was a member of the Senate in 2010 positioned according to our ideology score (left to right) and our leadership score (leaders are toward the top).

The chart is based on the bills Kennedy sponsored and cosponsored from Jan 24, 2005 to Dec 22, 2010. See full analysis methodology.

Enacted Legislation

Kennedy was the primary sponsor of 115 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:

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Does 115 not sound like a lot? Very few bills are ever enacted — most legislators sponsor only a handful that are signed into law. But there are other legislative activities that we don’t track that are also important, including offering amendments, committee work and oversight of the other branches, and constituent services.

We consider a bill enacted if one of the following is true: a) it is enacted itself, b) it has a companion bill in the other chamber (as identified by Congress) which was enacted, or c) if at least about half of its provisions were incorporated into bills that were enacted (as determined by an automated text analysis, applicable beginning with bills in the 110th Congress).

Bills Sponsored

Issue Areas

Kennedy sponsored bills primarily in these issue areas:

Government Operations and Politics (19%) Economics and Public Finance (14%) Health (13%) Labor and Employment (12%) Law (12%) Social Welfare (11%) Education (9%) Families (9%)

Recently Introduced Bills

Kennedy recently introduced the following legislation:

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Most legislation has no activity after being introduced.

Voting Record

Key Votes

Kennedy voted Not Voting

Kennedy voted Yea

Bill Passed 79/14 on Dec 14, 2007.

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub.L. 110–234, H.R. 2419, 122 Stat. 923, enacted May 22, 2008, also known as the 2008 U.S. …

Kennedy voted Nay

Motion Agreed to 80/14 on May 24, 2007.

The U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007, (Pub.L. 110–28, 121 Stat. 112, enacted May 25, 2007), is an …

Kennedy voted Yea

Missed Votes

From Jan 1963 to Aug 2009, Kennedy missed 2,831 of 18,069 roll call votes, which is 15.7%. This is much worse than the median of 2.0% among the lifetime records of senators serving in Aug 2009. The chart below reports missed votes over time.

We don’t track why legislators miss votes, but it’s often due to medical absenses and major life events.

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Primary Sources

The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including: