Brilliant, Loyal Kennedy Staffers the Envy of DC

Lion has cubs to thank for many legislative victories
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2009 7:07 AM CDT
Henry Sanford, staff assistant for Edward Kennedy, answers phone calls in Kennedy's office on Capitol Hill, Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – When they discovered their old boss had died, about 100 former Kennedy staffers headed to Boston to help with the funeral. “We are a family,” says one former communications adviser. They have also been a formidable political asset, both to the senator and the Democratic Party, the Washington Post reports. For decades, Kennedy’s staff has been the envy of Capitol Hill, the legendary lawmaker attracting the brightest, most ambitious up-and-coming Democrats.

Kennedy’s former staffers are peppered throughout Washington’s power structure. Stephen Breyer was once his chief counsel, and John Kerry got his start volunteering for Kennedy’s first Senate campaign. “Teddy’s staff was the farm system for the Democratic Party for a generation,’ says Kerry. He was a magnet for brilliant, creative, progressive minds and hard-charging, hard-nosed operatives." Throughout his illness, his staff continued to work intensively on health care reform, and many say they’re determined to carry on that fight. (Read more Ted Kennedy stories.)