- Associated Press - Saturday, January 3, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - President Barack Obama says former U.S. Sen. Edward W. Brooke stood at the front of the battle for civil rights and economic fairness in the U.S.

Obama says Brooke sought to build consensus and understanding regardless of political party. He says Brooke was always working to find practical solutions to the country’s challenges.

Brooke died Saturday at 95. In 1966 the Massachusetts Republican became the first black in U.S. history to win popular election to the Senate. He’s one of nine blacks who have ever served there - including Obama.

Obama says he and first lady Michelle Obama are sending their sympathy to Brooke’s family, friends and Massachusetts residents.

Obama praised Brooke in a statement issued while he was vacationing in Hawaii.

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