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Statement of James W. Hunt, Jr. on the passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy

8-26-09 Feature Story:

For community health centers across the nation, the passing of Senator Kennedy is a profound loss of our champion, founder and friend. For us in Massachusetts, this is especially true since the first health center established in 1965 at Columbia Point in Dorchester (now Geiger Gibson Community Health Center) was the model of care that he supported from the start. Senator Kennedy recognized that his vision of health care as a right for all Americans, rather than a privilege for a few, is the mission of the community health centers. Throughout his career he promoted our cause with a ferocious vigor.

He loved his frequent visits to Massachusetts health centers and welcomed us to the Policy & Issues Forum of the National Association of Community Health Centers each year in Washington. He would often abandon the script for these appearances and encourage us to never give up the fight for quality, accessible and dignified health care. Before returning to his hectic schedule, he always found time to meet privately with consumer board members, administrators and clinicians, putting forth a question or two, catching-up on old times, and posing with the group for our now legendary annual photos.

We will miss him in more ways than we have yet to imagine.

James W. Hunt, Jr.
President & CEO
Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers

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