“I feel change in the air. . . . It is time again for a new generation of leadership.”
It was reported Tuesday that Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who was hospitalized on Saturday after a seizure, has been diagnosed with malignant glioma, a brain tumor for which the prognosis is rarely favorable. First elected to the Senate in 1962 when his older brother John was president, Ted Kennedy has long been the Democratic party’s most stalwart promoter and prolific legislator for civil rights, education, labor, housing and social security—a one-man holder-together of the social safety net.
We’re praying for his recovery and for his family at this painful, uncertain time, and we hope the nation will pause to recognize the many good causes he has worked for all his life. He was born into privilege but has devoted his career to passing laws that make life a little easier for the general public—for mothers and children, for factory workers and immigrants, and especially on behalf of the less (and least) fortunate. May God send us more senators like him!—a hundred more!
Levees Not War also honors Senator Kennedy for proposing the Gulf Coast Rebuilding Plan  (along with Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire) soon after Hurricane Katrina. (His wife, Victoria ‘Vicki’ Reggie Kennedy, is from Crowley, Louisiana, the daughter of Judge Edmund M. Reggie and a graduate of Sophie Newcomb College and Tulane Law.) The Kennedy-Gregg plan has not been enacted, but it’s workable, affordable, well thought-out (see below the fold) and ready to go.
“For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”
—Edward M. Kennedy, Aug. 12, 1980
Democratic National Convention
Madison Square Garden
“. . . rebuilding the Gulf Coast requires an unprecedented national effort. It must be a principal focus of our national government in the months ahead and it must be done in a genuine collaboration with the people of the affected region. . . . We believe that a Gulf Coast Recovery and Disaster Preparedness Director and a Gulf Coast Revitalization Authority is the best way to combine the federal resources and coordination with real local involvement in the decision making process.”
—Edward M. Kennedy, floor statement introducing Gregg-Kennedy
Gulf Coast Recovery and Preparedness Act of 2005 
We urge readers to call Senator Kennedy’s office  to wish him well and also to call Senate leaders to request passage and full funding for the Kennedy-Gregg Gulf Coast Rebuilding Plan.
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada 
- Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin of Illinois 
- Environment & Public Works Committee 
- Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee 
The Gulf Coast Recovery and Preparedness Act would create a Gulf Coast Recovery and Disaster Preparedness Agency, headed by a director appointed by the president, with advise and consent of the Senate, and reporting directly to the president. The Act would also create within the agency a Gulf Coast Revitalization Authority responsible for redeveloping the areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The comprehensive Gulf Coast Recovery and Disaster Preparedness Agency would address the following areas of redevelopment (among others):
- Develop a long term coastal restoration plan, including the restoration of coastal wetlands and barrier islands that are natural flood control systems to prevent erosion and flood damages.
- Criteria for demolition of damaged housing, restoration of existing housing where advisable, and development of newly built housing.
- Design improvement standards for housing that can minimize damage from a future hurricane.
- A plan for working with private entities and nonprofit organizations to facilitate rebuilding an adequate supply of housing that is affordable to residents of all incomes displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
Hospitals and Other Public Health Care Facilities
- Design improvement standards for hospitals that will be rebuilt that includes state of the art information technology infrastructure.
- Design standards for health care facilities to withstand and continue operation during a future hurricane.
Employment and Training
- A plan for the training of residents of the affected communities in job skills that will be required in the region.
- Priority for jobs for residents of the affected communities created by reconstruction programs funded by the Office established by this Act.
- Design improvements and placement of water control facilities, including drainage channels, pumping facilities, levees and barriers.
Also included are plans for restoration and better planning for future Transportation, Utility Infrastructure, and other Public Facilities.