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Ailing Kennedy asks for speedy replacement process

BOSTON (AP) - A cancer-stricken Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has written a poignant letter to Massachusetts leaders asking that they change state law to allow a speedy replacement of him in Congress.

The note to Gov. Deval Patrick and the state's Senate president and House speaker acknowledges the state changed its succession law in 2004 to require a special election to fill any vacancy. At the time, legislative Democrats were concerned Republican Gov. Mitt Romney would be able to fill any vacancy created as Sen. John Kerry ran for president.

But Kennedy writes "it is vital for this commonwealth to have two voices speaking for the needs of its citizens and two votes in the Senate."

The letter was sent Tuesday, but Kennedy aides insist there is no material change in his condition since he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in May 2008.

Kennedy's absence from last week's funeral for his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, prompted a flurry of questions about his own health.


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