- Associated Press - Sunday, January 4, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - Comments on the life of former U.S. Sen. Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts, who died Saturday at his home in Florida at the age of 95. Brooke, a liberal Republican, was the first black candidate in U.S. history to win popular election to the Senate. He served from 1967 to 1979.

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“Ed Brooke stood at the forefront of the battle for civil rights and economic fairness. During his time in elected office, he sought to build consensus and understanding across partisan lines, always working towards practical solutions to our nation’s challenges.”- President Barack Obama

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“Whether in the Army Infantry during World War II, where he was awarded the Bronze Star fighting fascism; or as state Attorney General, battling corruption; or, finally, as a United States Senator, helping to pass landmark civil rights legislation and pushing for affordable housing, Ed Brooke gave to his country every day of his life.” - Secretary of State John Kerry, former Massachusetts U.S. senator

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“Massachusetts has a history of sending giants to the United States Senate, great statesmen like Quincy Adams, Webster, Cabot Lodge, and Kennedy. We count Ed Brooke among them. He carried the added honor and burden of being ‘the first’ and did so with distinction and grace. I have lost a friend and mentor. America has lost a superb example of selfless service.” - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the state’s first black governor

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“Senator Brooke’s accomplishments remind us that anything is possible in our country. It’s a proud legacy that paved the way for others. And it’s a proud legacy that will live on into history.” - Incoming U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

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“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Senator Edward W. Brooke as we lost a truly remarkable public servant. A war hero, a champion of equal rights for all, and an example that barriers can be broken, Senator Brooke accomplished more than most aspire to. Our party, commonwealth and nation are better for his service.” - Massachusetts Republican Gov.-elect Charlie Baker

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“He was a brilliant politician at an extraordinary moment - a Republican in a Democratic state, a liberal Republican in a Nixon administration. He was a champion for equality and communities of color at the dawn of a new era of American civil rights. He will go down as one of the greatest Senators who ever represented the Commonwealth.” - U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass.

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“His lifelong career in public service, in particular as the first African American elected to the Senate by popular vote, was as courageous as it was historic. He made significant contributions to the social landscape of this country; was a champion of education and affordable housing; and his efforts led to expanded economic opportunities for American families.” - U.S. Rep. Nikki Tsongas, D-Mass., whose late husband Paul Tsongas defeated Brooke in the 1978 Senate race that ended Brooke’s tenure in Congress

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“He was a true trailblazer, and those of us who followed cannot thank him enough. … Our nation was truly blessed by his life and accomplishments, and his place in history will stand the test of time.” - U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the first black senator elected in South Carolina, and the state’s first black candidate to win a statewide election since Reconstruction

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“Senator Brooke was a pioneer in American political life as well as an important symbol for our state during a troubled time. A combat veteran of World War II, he was a patriot and fought at home for a better nation in the years that followed. A committed statesman, his moderation could serve as a model for Washington today.” - Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo

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“This Massachusetts Republican was a highly respected legislator responsible for shaping our nation’s laws and ensuring equal rights for all men and women. The Massachusetts Republican Party is proud to have had Senator Brooke as one of our party’s leaders, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family.” - MassGOP Chairman, Kirsten Hughes

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“Whenever one of my constituents needed assistance, whether it was helping a veteran, a person on social security or a senior citizen, I called Senator Brooke’s office. He personally would call me back to help my constituents. I’m not surprised that so many working class Democrats voted for him. He might have been a national celebrity and a Republican, but to me and my neighbors he was a go through guy.” - Ray Flynn, former Democratic legislator, Boston mayor and U.S. ambassador to the Vatican during the Clinton Administration

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