Walter Pierce

Dodd, Hatch: Vicki a good fit for Senate

by Walter Pierce

Reportedly reluctant to replace her late husband in the U.S. Senate should the opportunity arise, Victoria Reggie Kennedy is being urged to do so by two of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s closest friends: Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the latter telling CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, “She’s a very brilliant lawyer. She’s a very solid individual. I have nothing but great respect for her.”

Speculation about the Crowley native assuming her husband’s seat began not long after Kennedy, who died last week at 77, was diagnosed last year with brain cancer. Massachusetts law requires a special election be held within five months to replace a member of Congress who dies in office, but, according to Bloomberg, the Democrat-controlled state legislature could change the law within a month and appoint an interim senator. “If she did, I’m for it,” Dodd also told CNN on Sunday. “I think she’d be great. We could certainly use her in the Senate. Whatever she thinks is best, I’m for.”

The push to change Massachusetts law and allow for the appointment of an interim senator is a sore subject for some on the right: The law was changed to its current form in 2004 by the Democrat-controlled legislature — in part at the behest of Kennedy — to prevent then Gov. Mitt Romney from appointing a fellow Republican in the event Massachusetts’ junior Sen. John Kerry won the presidential election against George W. Bush. Perhaps sensing his impending death and acknowledging the urgency of maintaining a 60-40 Democratic lock on the U.S. Senate as the health care reform debate resumes after Labor Day, two weeks ago Sen. Kennedy urged Massachusetts’ current governor, fellow Democrat Deval Patrick, to change the law and allow for the appointment of an interim.