Ted Kennedy returns to the Senate

Jan. 7, 2009 at 1:57 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Less than eight months after being diagnosed with brain cancer, Sen. Ted Kennedy is back in the U.S. Senate and promising to work full time.

The Massachusetts Democrat returned to Capitol Hill Tuesday for the beginning of the 111th Congress, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday.

Kennedy escorted two longtime colleagues and fellow Senate Democrats, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Richard Durbin of Illinois, to their swearing-in to new terms. The first was by custom and the second because Illinois at the moment has only one senator.

"It was wonderful to be escorted down by him," Kerry said. "It was so emotional. He really looked good. I'm fighting for him."

Kennedy stayed out of the public eye for months after his diagnosis of a cancerous brain tumor in May except for an appearance at the Democratic Convention. He continued to work with his staff.

He plans to make healthcare legislation his priority. On Thursday, Kennedy is scheduled to chair hearings.

Even on a day of ceremony, he took the opportunity to discuss healthcare with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. He and Pelosi both attended the swearing in of his nephew, Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., to an eighth term in the House.

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