Massachusetts' Kennedy Institute offers window on U.S. Senate

Sat Jun 13, 2015 7:09am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Elizabeth Barber

BOSTON (Reuters) - One young senator had to be prodded out of a nap. A Republican congresswoman alleged that Democrats must "enjoy spending money." There was talk of a filibuster. 

This could have been the U.S. Senate, were it not for one thing: it went on to pass a massive immigration-reform bill this week.

"We compromised," said Tacora Mcneil Davis, a high school student playing a Republican Senator in a mock legislative session at Boston's Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

"We got everything we want, and we have the Democrats' support," said the 17-year-old. "It should pass."

Opened in March, the institute was imagined by the late Democrat, who died in 2009, as a place that could rekindle lost respect for a stalled Senate.

The institute is not the first named for a U.S. Senator: The University of Louisville in Kentucky is home to the McConnell Center, affiliated with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell while the University of Connecticut hosts a Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, named for the late Senator who also served as a prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials after World War II.

But unlike those highly academic institutions, the Kennedy Institute also hosts the only full-scale replica of the U.S. Senate chamber, where school groups might be awed not only by the grandeur of the room, but by the potential of the people inside it to chart the nation's future.

Kennedy, part of one of the nation's most storied political dynasties, is widely remembered for approaching legislation with a willingness to compromise despite his liberal passions.   Continued...

High school students from the City on a Hill Charter Public School, including Tacra McNeil Davi (C), playing the role of U.S. senators, cast a vote at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston, Massachusetts June 10, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder