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Ted Kennedy successor: It's Paul Kirk

JFK Library Foundation President Paul Kirk, named interim senator from Massachusetts to replace Ted Kennedy, who died August 2009 at the age of 77

(UPDATE: 1:10 p.m. The Boston Globe has come up with an interesting item: Six things you didn't know about this guy, in case you want to know them now that he's an appointed somebody.)

Paul Kirk -- former staffer to Ted Kennedy, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee -- was the choice by the Kennedy family to succeed the man known as the Lion of the Senate. He may even have been Kennedy's personal choice as the Massachusetts senator struggled against brain cancer and lobbied the Legislature to allow an interim appointment.

Today, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick made it official, naming the head of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation as the interim senator before a special election in January to fill the vacancy left by Kennedy's death in August at the age of 77.

In remarks following the governor's announcement, Kirk said he hoped to be "a voice and a vote for his causes and his constituents." He promised to retain Kennedy's staff, calling them "talented and hard working." And, pleasing legislators who were reluctant to approve the bill, he pledged not to seek re-election.

After brief remarks by Patrick and by Kirk, the state's now-senior senator, John Kerry,  spoke the longest.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

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Big shoes to fill. Sad to see the last of the Kennedy brothers finally passon the baton.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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