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December 21, 2021

Statement of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate on the passing of Senator Johnny Isakson

On behalf of the Board and Staff of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, we were saddened to hear of the passing of Senator Johnny Isakson, who served the people of Georgia in public office for over forty years, and as US Senator from 2005 to 2019.

Senator Kennedy and Senator Isakson both shared an abiding belief that bipartisanship is the driving force behind lasting legislative work and pragmatic government. Senator Isakson was not afraid to cross the aisle to make sure that the best interests of the American people were served, such as when he fought against the 2013 and 2019 government shutdowns. He was also known for his annual bipartisan barbecue to bring together his colleagues of all political ideologies.

Kennedy and Isakson worked together as two of the senators driving the 2007 bipartisan deal with the White House on immigration reform. As members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, they collaborated on many issues, including on critical pension legislation to aid Delta Air Lines employees as the air carrier restructured after bankruptcy.

As Senator Kennedy said in 2006 to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Senator Isakson is widely respected in the Senate, and I’ve enjoyed working with him on a range of questions from education for children to the safety of coal miners. We may not always agree on the issues, but he always thought them through,” (source).

Our thoughts are with Senator Isakson’s family and friends during this time.

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