“Being a Senator is a great honor, and it’s historical, but the most historical thing I’ve done was sit in a room of ten people in Chicago trying to decide who should be the cabinet secretaries,” remarked Senator Edward E. Kaufman, during a wide-ranging talk he gave to members of the Widener Law faculty on the Delaware campus on Wednesday, August 26th. He also noted of his position in the Senate, “My grandchildren love it, so I absolutely love it.”
Senator Kaufman’s visit launched the fall 2009 slate of faculty development events on the Delaware campus. Associate Dean of Faculty Research and Development Erin Daly
eloquently introduced the Senator before he spoke. “Thank you, Erin, it’s a real pleasure to be here,” opened Senator Kaufman before noting some of his connections to Widener Law, including his Chief Counsel, Geoff Moulton
, a Widener Law Associate Professor on leave of absence. He also thanked Ruby R. Vale Professor of Corporate Law Lawrence A. Hamermesh
for helping him formulate questions on business law to ask of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.
In his remarks, Senator Kaufman touched on a number of interesting topics, including his time teaching at Duke University, how he became involved in Joe Biden’s first U.S. Senate campaign in 1972 as a volunteer while working for the DuPont company, the tragic accident that killed Biden’s wife and daughter, and taking a leave of absence from DuPont to organize Senator Biden’s Delaware Office in 1973. He also discussed the 2008 election and its aftermath, including having the opportunity to help Vice President-elect Biden with the transition.
After detailing his own appointment to the Senate by Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner, he prompted faculty members in the audience to ask him questions or make observations. Professor John Culhane asked about the continuing debate over healthcare, prompting Senator Kaufman to answer, “My main concern about healthcare – number one – has to be about cost.” He went on to suggest that the rising costs of healthcare make reform a necessity, cocluding, “We’ve got to get a real alternative and then compare it to the present system. It would be impossible for even the United States Congress to put together a bill that is worse than the present system.”
Other topics of discussion included the current mood of Congress given the vociferous objections of some protestors about healthcare reform, student loans and education, the national debt, the green economy, the escalating violence in Afghanistan, and the passing of Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 15, 1939, Edward E. Kaufman graduated from Duke University with a BS in mechanical engineering before earning an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Senator Kaufman and his wife Lynne make their home in Wilmington. They have three daughters, Kelly, Murry, and Meg, and 7 grandchildren.