The planned retirement of U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) marks the departure of a great leader and a good friend of the AFT, says AFT president Randi Weingarten, noting that Dodd has played a key role in significant education, health and labor legislation to improve conditions and opportunities for children, families and workers during his nearly 30 years in Congress.
"Throughout his congressional career, Dodd has worked tirelessly to help make high-quality education accessible and affordable for children, from preschool through college," Weingarten says. "He worked closely with the AFT to craft and sponsor the Sandra Feldman Kindergarten-Plus Act of 2004 to fund extended-year kindergarten programs for disadvantaged children, supported increased funding for the No Child Left Behind Act, fought against private school vouchers, and opposed legislation that would reduce or eliminate Pell Grants.
"Dodd was a leader in moving legislation that has helped families deal with the high cost of healthcare, including his support for expanding the Medicare prescription drug bill to include retiree out-of-pocket expenses and his support of an amendment to protect seniors from steep increases in Medicare Part B premiums. He also played an important role in the passage and enactment of the Family Medical Leave Act, which has benefited millions of families.
"On wage issues, Dodd opposed efforts to eliminate overtime eligibility for 6 million workers, and opposed tying the minimum wage to estate-tax cuts. He is also a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act.
"Dodd's many accomplishments will be felt by generations to come, and the AFT wishes him and his family well in the next stage of their lives." [AFT press release]
January 6, 2010