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Kennedy worried about Senate vacancy issue

U.S. President Barack Obama shares a laugh with Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-MA, before signing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act at the SEED Public Charter School on April 21, 2009. Obama called on Americans to serve their communities and work together to tackle tough challenges. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg)
U.S. President Barack Obama shares a laugh with Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-MA, before signing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act at the SEED Public Charter School on April 21, 2009. Obama called on Americans to serve their communities and work together to tackle tough challenges. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg) | License Photo

BOSTON, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., afflicted with brain cancer, is trying to ensure his seat doesn't stay vacant long should it become open, officials said.

In a letter sent to Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Kennedy asked that the state's succession law, passed in 2004, be changed to allow Patrick to appoint someone to the seat temporarily before a special election for a successor is held, The Boston Globe reported Thursday.

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"I strongly support that law and the principle that the people should elect their senator," Kennedy wrote. "I also believe it is vital for this commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens and two votes in the Senate during the approximately five months between a vacancy and an election."

Kennedy didn't mention his illness nor the healthcare debate in Washington, but the tone of his letter, obtained by the Globe, implied he was working to ensure his special issue, better health coverage for all, advances in case he dies.

"I am now writing to you about an issue that concerns me deeply, the continuity of representation for Massachusetts, should a vacancy occur," Kennedy wrote.

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To ensure the special election is fair, Kennedy urged that the governor get an "explicit personal commitment" from his appointee not to seek the office on a permanent basis.

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