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New centre highlights US Senate and late Sen. Edward Kennedy

March 29, 2015 - UNITED STATES

Full-scale replicas of the United States Senate chamber and the office of the late Senator Edward Kennedy open to the public in his home state of Massachusetts. But for the Chappaquiddick Island scandal in 1969, the replica of Kennedy's workplace might have been the Oval Office at the White House.

Though the scandal has been revived in the media every fifth anniversary, Kennedy served in Congress from 1962 until his death in 2009 and he died as a highly-respected figure.

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is described as a center of non-partisan learning about the US government. Located in Dorchester''s Columbia Point area, the 68,000 square-foot building sits near the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Visitors will be able to debate and vote on legislation in the replica of the US Senate chamber and see exhibits on past Senate debates. A gala celebration is set for March 29 and a formal dedication ceremony will take place on March 30.

Until the Chappaquiddick Island accident on July 19, 1969, Edward Kennedy was widely expected to become president, a successor, in time, to his brother: John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. The accident happened when Kennedy drove his car off a wooden bridge on the Massachusetts island, drowning his passenger, a young campaign worker named Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy left the scene of the accident and did not report it to the police for many hours. Despite the furor, he escaped legal consequences and wasn't driven out of politics, but the tragedy ended any hope of a presidential bid.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate

Ted Kennedy's Chappaquiddick - 1969 (Washington Post 1998)

Date written/update: 2014-11-10