Edward "Ted" M. Kennedy (1932 — 2009)
"America means very little if America doesn't mean opportunity."
In his nearly 47 years in the U.S. Senate, Edward "Ted" Kennedy fought for working people as no one has, before or since. His remarkable legislative skills and leadership have shaped or strengthened nearly every facet of the U.S. Labor Department's work.
Kennedy believed Americans deserved a wage to support a family, and the dignity it affords. He fought repeatedly for fair pay and to raise the federal minimum wage. His efforts, from the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to the MINER Act of 2006, displayed his devotion to worker safety. As chief sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, he won a landmark victory to ensure civil rights and economic opportunity for people with disabilities.
He often said that access to health care for all was the cause of his life, and the Affordable Care Act of 2010 culminated decades of his pursuit of that goal. The desire for a fair and humane immigration system spanned his career.
No lawmaker in American history did more to help working people.