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December 9, 2021

Statement of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate on the passing of Senator Robert J. Dole

The Kennedy Institute extends our deep condolences to Senator Elizabeth Dole and to the family and many friends of Senator Robert J. Dole, who passed away this past Sunday at the age of 98.

Ted Kennedy and Bob Dole served together in the United States Senate for 27 years, representing two competing parties, often on opposite sides of issues and legislation, but with a deep and abiding mutual respect for each other and for the Senate. Despite their differences, Senators Dole and Kennedy found common ground on some of the great societal issues of their time, including the passage of the historic Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the original passage and extension of the Voting Rights Act. In addition, Senator Dole supported Senator Kennedy’s fight to bring down the racist grip of apartheid in South Africa by instituting sanctions against the South African government.

In the oral history Senator Dole provided to the Kennedy Institute, which you can find here, he acknowledged his many deep differences with Senator Kennedy but paid him perhaps the highest compliment a leader of one party can pay to a leader from the rival party: “He’s productive and effective.’’ We know that Senator Kennedy recognized that in Senator Dole’s 27 years in the U.S. Senate, his eight years in the U.S. House, and campaigns for vice president and president, Bob Dole produced his own significant record of productivity and effectiveness.

Senator Dole served his country with great distinction, including on the battlefield during World War II. The Kennedy Institute is grateful for his decades of leadership and sacrifice, and extends our best wishes to his widow, Mrs. Dole, with whom Senator Kennedy served from 2003-09, and to all those who are mourning Bob Dole’s passing.

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