A Presidential Encounter
Twenty-nine years ago, during his 1980 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, the late Massachusetts Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy made a stop in Laconia. Kennedy’s motorcade brought him first to the Laconia Shoe Co., and then on to the historic Belknap Mill, where he spoke about his stand on the issues of the day, and why he felt he was the better candidate. Our own Attorney Bob Hemeon was among those in attendance that day. As luck would have it, Attorney Hemeon shared a few moments with the Senator during the brief elevator ride that brought them to the third floor meeting room of the Mill building.
A past Director of the New Hampshire Democratic State Committee, Attorney Hemeon also knew the late Robert Kennedy. During the 1980 campaign, Attorney Hemeon generously provided housing to a campaign staffer for nearly three months. As to the late Senator, Attorney Hemeon said he was impressed with what he had to say, and noted that he was a skillful listener. “He was not anybody that, at least in my contacts with him, was set to look out the window. He was genuinely interested in how I felt and how others felt on certain issues.”
Attorney Hemeon further reflected on how Kennedy will be sorely missed, in particular with regard to his staunch advocacy of the current health care reform efforts. “It’s a shame that he didn’t live long enough, because I honestly believe that the Senator who could get things done by crossing the aisle. His home was the Senate. I don’t think there’s going to be anybody to replace him and his ability to work out solutions, including on health care. I think he would have been a valuable asset to not only this administration, but to everybody to reach a reasonable conclusion.”