Joe Kennedy III

Joseph Patrick Kennedy III (born October 4, 1980) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Massachusetts's 4th congressional district since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, he represents a district that extends from Boston's western suburbs to the state's South Coast. He worked as an assistant district attorney in the Cape and Islands and Middlesex County, Massachusetts, offices before his election to Congress.

Joe Kennedy III
Joe Kennedy III, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 4th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byBarney Frank
Personal details
Born
Joseph Patrick Kennedy III

(1980-10-04) October 4, 1980 (age 40)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
Lauren Birchfield
(m. 2012)
ChildrenEleanor and James Matthew
ParentsJoseph P. Kennedy II (father)
Sheila Brewster Rauch (mother)
RelativesSee Kennedy family
EducationStanford University (BS)
Harvard University (JD)
Signature
WebsiteHouse website

A member of the Kennedy family, he is a son of U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy II, a grandson of U.S. Senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, a grandnephew of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, and a great-grandson of U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.

Born in Boston, Kennedy was raised in the area with his twin brother, Matthew Rauch Kennedy. After graduating from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree, he spent two years in the Dominican Republic as a member of the Peace Corps before earning a Juris Doctor at Harvard Law School in 2009. He resigned from his role as assistant district attorney in early 2012 to run for the U.S. House of Representatives seat held by the retiring Barney Frank. Kennedy was sworn into office in January 2013 and sits on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

In 2020, rather than run for reelection to his House seat, Kennedy unsuccessfully challenged Senator Ed Markey for the Democratic nomination in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate election.[1]

Early life and careerEdit

Kennedy was born on October 4, 1980,[2] in Brighton, a neighborhood of Boston, to Sheila Brewster (Rauch) and Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy II. He was born eight minutes after his fraternal twin brother, Matthew. The twins are the eldest grandsons of Senator Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy and Ethel Skakel.[3][4] They were raised in Brighton and the coastal town of Marshfield, Massachusetts, also spending summers on Cape Cod.[5] From birth, Kennedy was surrounded by politics; in 1980, his parents worked on the presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, the boys' great-uncle. Kennedy's father was elected to Congress in 1986. His parents divorced in 1991. The twins spent the following years moving between Brighton and Cambridge.[4]

 
Kennedy (left) in the Dominican Republic as part of the Peace Corps

After graduating from Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, Kennedy and his brother enrolled at Stanford University, where he majored in management science and engineering. Kennedy's reputation as a teetotaler earned him the college nickname "Milkman", as his teammates on the club lacrosse team would jokingly order him glasses of milk at bars.[4][6] At Stanford, Kennedy roomed with future NBA player Jason Collins[7] and was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity.

After graduating in 2003, Kennedy joined the Peace Corps; a fluent Spanish speaker, he worked in the Dominican Republic's Puerto Plata province from 2004 to 2006, helping local tour guides in the 27 Charcos reserve in the Río Damajagua Park. He reorganized the group with some outside backing, directing the guides to rebuild parts of the park and develop skills to make the operation more attractive to tourists.[4][6] "We basically created a union," said Kennedy, who reported that the group's efforts won higher wages for employees while increasing the tour companies' revenue.[8] According to a press release, his other activities in the Peace Corps included "stints as an Anti-Poverty Consultant for the Office of the President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and a Research Analyst for the United Nations Development Program."[9]

Entry into law and politicsEdit

 
Kennedy speaking at the 50th Anniversary of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (2011)

In April 2006, Kennedy returned to Massachusetts, where he and his brother co-chaired Ted Kennedy's reelection campaign. The same month, Kennedy enrolled in Harvard Law School.[4] There, he worked for the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, providing legal aid to low-income tenants with foreclosure cases in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, and as a technical editor for the Harvard Human Rights Journal, on a staff with his classmate and future wife, Lauren Anne Birchfield.[4] In 2007, he and Birchfield co-founded Picture This: Justice and Power, an after-school program for youths in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood.[10][11] He began an internship at the Cape and Islands District Attorney's Office in 2008.[9]

After receiving his J.D. degree in 2009, Kennedy was hired at the Cape and Islands Office as an assistant district attorney (DA). He considered running for the Cape-based U.S. House seat held by retiring Rep. Bill Delahunt in early 2010, but decided against it.[12] In September 2011, he joined the Middlesex County, Massachusetts District Attorney's Office, also as an assistant DA.[13] He resigned several months later, in preparation for the announcement that he would seek political office.[14]

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit

ElectionsEdit

2012Edit

 
Kennedy (left) campaigning with Elizabeth Warren (center), and his predecessor Barney Frank (right), 2012 Boston Pride Parade

In January 2012, Kennedy announced he would form an exploratory committee to run in the newly redrawn 4th congressional district of Massachusetts.[14][15] Kennedy explained, "I will then begin to reach out to the people of the Fourth District in order to hear directly from them about the challenges they are facing and their ideas on how we can restore fairness to our system. I will make a final decision about entering the race in the weeks thereafter."[16][17]

He officially entered the election in February 2012.[18] In an announcement video, Kennedy declared, "I believe this country was founded on a simple idea: that every person deserves to be treated fairly, by each other and by their government".[19] In the same video, Kennedy vowed to fight for a "fair job plan", a "better educational system", a "fair tax code" and a "fair housing policy".[19]

While several Democratic candidates had prepared to enter the race, the field nearly cleared once Kennedy announced his candidacy. His family roots made him the overwhelming favorite among Massachusetts Democrats.[20][21] In the September 6 primary, he faced Rachel Brown, a Lyndon LaRouche acolyte, and Herb Robinson, an engineer and musician, winning the primary with around 90 percent of the vote.[22] He was elected to the House of Representatives on November 6, 2012, defeating Republican candidate Sean Bielat, winning over 60% of the vote.

2014Edit

In the 2014 election Kennedy ran unopposed in the primary and general elections. On November 4, 2014, he was reelected to a second term with 184,158 votes (98%).[23]

2016Edit

In 2016, after running unopposed in the Democratic primary, Kennedy was reelected to a third term, defeating Republican David Rosa by more than 40 percentage points.[24]

2018Edit

Kennedy was mentioned as a potential candidate for the 2018 Massachusetts gubernatorial election[25] but declined, running for reelection to the House and saying he had no plans to run for any other office.[26] He was reelected unopposed.

Committee assignments
115th Congress (2017–19)[27]

TenureEdit

 
Joe Kennedy III speaks during a ceremony celebrating the life of his grandfather, Robert F. Kennedy, in 2018.

Kennedy was sworn into the 113th U.S. Congress on January 3, 2013, and assigned to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. He praised the technology committee assignment as an opportunity to secure federal funding, including National Science Foundation and Small Business Innovation Research grants, for life sciences companies in his district. As a freshman in his party, he was unable to secure a seat he had sought on the Education Committee.[28]

During a February science committee hearing, Kennedy questioned Texas Instruments president Richard Templeton about the company's efforts to compensate cancer-stricken former employees of its Attleboro, Massachusetts, nuclear facility.[29][30] A prolific fundraiser, he launched his political action committee, the 4MA PAC, in April.[31][32] As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, he traveled in May with four other legislators to Afghanistan, where they met with President Hamid Karzai and members of the military.[33] That month he was named chairman of Governor Deval Patrick's STEM Advisory Council.[34]

On July 24, 2013, Kennedy was one of seven members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus[35] (CPC) to vote against the Amash-Conyers amendment to limit Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which tried to restrict NSA surveillance programs. In contrast, a majority of both CPC members and of Democratic members of Congress voted for the amendment, while Kennedy stood out as a supporter of the party leadership. His vote has been criticized as a sign for a lack of commitment to civil liberties.[36]

Kennedy is a member of the U.S.-Japan Caucus.[37]

Response to the 2018 State of the UnionEdit

On January 26, 2018, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that Kennedy would deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump's 2018 State of the Union address.[38][39] His selection came after criticism that the Democratic Party had relied too heavily on its oldest leaders since the 2016 presidential election. In choosing Kennedy, the party was seen as trying to bridge the gap with a new face attached to one of the most famous names in American politics.[40] On January 30, he gave the response to television cameras and a live studio audience in the automotive body shop of Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School at Fall River, Massachusetts.[41] The location was meant to emphasize the role immigrants have in American society. He spent the opening minutes of his speech boasting about the economy and industrial history of Fall River, a city in his district. His audience included Diman Regional Technical School students. He praised Black Lives Matter and spoke in Spanish about children who were brought into the United States illegally when they were minors.[42] He also took numerous swings at Trump, criticizing the Department of Justice for "rolling back civil rights by the day" and attacking the administration for "targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection."[43] He accused Trump of turning American life "into a zero-sum game"[43] and said that Democrats intended to aid the middle and lower classes. He closed by characterizing the state of the union as "hopeful, resilient, enduring."[43]

2020 Senate campaignEdit

 
Logo for Kennedy's 2020 Senate Campaign

On August 26, 2019, Kennedy announced he was considering a primary challenge against incumbent Senator Ed Markey and on September 21 formally announced his candidacy. He announced that he would not seek reelection, instead challenging Markey in the Democratic primary for the 2020 United States Senate election in Massachusetts.[44][45] On September 1, 2020, Markey defeated him in the Democratic primary. Kennedy became the first member of his family to lose an election in Massachusetts.[46][47][48]

His defeat was widely attributed to his inability to explain his reasons for running, as well as Markey's unexpected strength among progressives and younger voters. Kennedy was endorsed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, while Markey had the support of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, former Vice-President Al Gore, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Elizabeth Warren, the youth-led Sunrise Movement and The Boston Globe. The race was considered a showdown between the Democratic establishment and its new and growing progressive wing, though the lines between the two were blurred as Kennedy is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Markey is a 44-year incumbent.[49][50]

Personal lifeEdit

 
Elizabeth Warren speaking with Kennedy (center) and his wife Lauren in 2019

Kennedy married health policy lawyer[51] Lauren Anne Birchfield in Corona del Mar, California, on December 1, 2012.[52] The couple met in a Harvard Law School class taught by future U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.[53] On December 29, 2015, Birchfield gave birth to their daughter.[54] On December 20, 2017, Kennedy announced the birth of their second child, a son.[55] The family lives in Newton, Massachusetts.[56]

Kennedy's net worth is about $43 million, making him among the wealthiest members of Congress.[57]

Electoral historyEdit

Massachusetts's 4th congressional district: Results 2012-2018
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2012 Joseph P. Kennedy III 221,303 61.1% Sean D. Bielat 129,936 35.9% David A. Rosa Independent 10,741 3.0%
2014 Joseph P. Kennedy III (incumbent) 184,158 97.9% (no candidate) n/a write-ins 3,940 2.1%
2016 Joseph P. Kennedy III (incumbent) 265,823 70.1% David A. Rosa 113,055 29.8% n/a write-ins 335 0.1%
2018 Joseph P. Kennedy III (incumbent) 245,289 97.7% (no candidate) n/a write-ins 5,727 2.3%
2020 U.S. Senate Democratic primary results[58][59]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ed Markey (incumbent) 782,694 55.35
Democratic Joseph P. Kennedy III 629,359 44.51
Total votes 100.0%

Political positionsEdit

Health careEdit

Kennedy supports strengthening Social Security and Medicare and favors having Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices directly with drug manufacturers.

Civil rightsEdit

Kennedy has co-sponsored legislation to study reparations, supports measures to expand the civil rights of Native Americans, opposes discrimination in employment, housing, education, and health care, and supports removing barriers to equal opportunities for people with disabilities, including improving access to public transit, housing, voting, and education. He supports LGBTQIA+ rights, recognition of a national Transgender Day of Remembrance, and is a member of the Congressional Transgender Equality Task Force. In the area of gender equity, he is an advocate of legislation to end workplace discrimination and wage discrimination and is a supporter of the Me Too movement.[60][non-primary source needed]

Global warmingEdit

Kennedy co-sponsored the Green New Deal and supports aggressive action to reduce carbon emissions, enforce pollution control standards, protect public lands from fossil fuel extraction, promote clean energy alternatives to pipelines and compressor stations, and invest in related infrastructure and scientific research. He supports strict fuel efficiency standards and the elimination of exemptions to the Clean Air Act, and opposes the United States' withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.[61]

Racial inequalityEdit

Kennedy has helped pass legislation to guarantee access to STEM and vocational education and co-sponsored legislation to eliminate most student debt. He has also co-sponsored legislation to reduce racial discrimination in housing, favors increasing the portion of federal grants earmarked for minority-owned small business and has supported criminal justice reform.[62][non-primary source needed]

Marijuana legalizationEdit

In November 2018, Kennedy, a longtime opponent of the legalization of marijuana, reversed his position, and endorsed legalization at the federal level.[63]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Murray, Stephanie. "Markey defeats Kennedy, Neal wins in Massachusetts". POLITICO. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  2. ^ "Kennedy, Joseph P. III". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  3. ^ Edith Zimmerman (September 12, 2012). "Keeping Up With the Kennedys". The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Jacobs, Sally (March 17, 2012). "For the Kennedy clan, he is Generation Next". The Boston Globe.
  5. ^ Vosk, Stephanie (February 28, 2010). "Not your average Joe (Kennedy)". Cape Cod Times. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Massachusetts, 4th House District". National Journal. November 6, 2012.
  7. ^ "Why NBA center Jason Collins is coming out now". Sports Illustrated. April 29, 2013.
  8. ^ Pollock, Alan (May 7, 2009). "Joseph P. Kennedy III Urges Young People To Act Locally, And Globally". The Cape Cod Chronicle. Archived from the original on June 24, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Kennedy Joins Middlesex District Attorney's Office". Office of the Middlesex District Attorney. August 24, 2011. Archived from the original on March 23, 2018. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  10. ^ "Joseph Kennedy III joins Middlesex DA's Office". The MetroWest Daily News. August 24, 2011. Archived from the original on April 12, 2013. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  11. ^ Newburger, Emily (2012). "The Next Generation". Alumni Pursuits. Harvard Law School.
  12. ^ Vosk, Stephanie (March 1, 2010). "Joseph Kennedy III says he won't seek seat". Cape Cod Times. Archived from the original on January 15, 2012.
  13. ^ Jessica Venezia Pastore & Stephanie Chelf Guyotte (August 24, 2011). "Middlesex District Attorney". Middlesexda.com. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  14. ^ a b Phillips, Frank (January 5, 2012). "Joseph P. Kennedy III, family scion, explores run for Barney Frank's House seat | Boston.com". Boston.com. Archived from the original on August 17, 2020. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  15. ^ Clift, Eleanor (February 17, 2012). "Joe Kennedy III Takes the Torch from Retiring Barney Frank". The Daily Beast. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  16. ^ "Joe Kennedy III Exploring Campaign Run". The Boston Channel. January 5, 2012. Archived from the original on August 17, 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  17. ^ Miga, Andrew. "Joseph Kennedy III Takes Steps Toward A Run For Congress". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  18. ^ "Joseph Kennedy III Announcing Mass. Congress Bid". Boston.com. February 15, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  19. ^ a b joekennedy2012 (February 15, 2012). "I'm Running". YouTube. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  20. ^ Miller, Joshua (January 24, 2012). "4th District Field Clears for Joseph Kennedy III in Massachusetts". Roll Call.
  21. ^ "2012 Primary Endorsement: 4th Congressional District: Joe Kennedy III for Democrats". The Boston Globe. September 2, 2012.
  22. ^ Levenson, Michael (September 7, 2012). "Bielat, Kennedy to vie for open House seat". The Boston Globe.
  23. ^ "House election results". Real Clear Politics. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  24. ^ "Massachusetts 4th District Results". New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  25. ^ Salsberg, Bob (November 28, 2016). "Pivoting toward 2018, Massachusetts Dems eye Charlie Baker challenge". Boston.com. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  26. ^ Metzger, Andy. "Kennedy says he will seek re-election in 2018". The Herald News. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  27. ^ "Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Mass)". Roll Call. CQ.
  28. ^ Jan, Tracy (January 5, 2013). "Kennedy named to two House committees". The Boston Globe.
  29. ^ Nichols, Christopher (February 6, 2013). "Kennedy grills Texas Instruments president". Taunton Gazette.
  30. ^ Foster, Rick (February 6, 2013). "Kennedy questions TI president about cancer cases". The Sun Chronicle.
  31. ^ Tracy, Jan (April 17, 2013). "Tierney tops state delegation in first quarter fundraising". The Boston Globe.
  32. ^ Blake, Aaron (April 12, 2013). "Rep. Joe Kennedy III launches political action committee". Post Politics (The Washington Post).
  33. ^ Bender, Bryan (May 28, 2013). "Kennedy impressed by US efforts to prepare Afghans". The Boston Globe.
  34. ^ Massachusetts Governor's Office (May 29, 2013). "Lieutenant Governor Murray announces Congressman Kennedy to lead the governor's STEM Advisory Council".
  35. ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  36. ^ In These Times (July 26, 2013). "Why Did 83 Democrats Vote to Continue NSA Surveillance?".
  37. ^ "Members". U.S. – Japan Caucus. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  38. ^ "Rep. Joe Kennedy III to deliver Democratic response to State of the Union". Retrieved January 26, 2018.
  39. ^ "Can Joe Kennedy Beat the State of the Union Curse?". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  40. ^ Malone, Scott (January 25, 2018). "In step to national stage, a young Kennedy to rebut Trump address". Boston. Reuters. Archived from the original on January 26, 2018. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
  41. ^ "Rep. Kennedy highlighted Fall River's resilience and work ethic in rebuttal to President Trump". Herald News, Massachusetts. February 1, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  42. ^ Seelye, Katharine Q. (January 30, 2018). "Joseph P. Kennedy III Gives Democratic Response to State of the Union" – via NYTimes.com.
  43. ^ a b c "Full Transcript and Video: Joe Kennedy Delivers Democratic Response to the State of the Union". nytimes.com. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  44. ^ Dwinell, Joe (August 26, 2019). "Joe Kennedy III confirms he's eyeing run for U.S. Senate". Boston Herald. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  45. ^ LeBLANC, STEVE (September 21, 2019). "Rep. Joe Kennedy formally announces US Senate campaign". AP NEWS. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  46. ^ Markey Holds Off Joseph Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate Race, New York Times, Jonathan Martin, September 1, 2020. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  47. ^ Martin, Jonathan (September 1, 2020). "Markey Holds Off Joseph Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate Race". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  48. ^ "Fast Facts about Robert F. Kennedy | JFK Library". www.jfklibrary.org. Retrieved September 4, 2020. Robert F. Kennedy was not on the ballot in Massachusetts in the 1968 Democratic Party presidential primaries and finished second to Eugene McCarthy as a write-in candidate.
  49. ^ Cohen, Rachel M. (September 1, 2020). "Ed Markey Beats Back Senate Challenge from Joe Kennedy". The Intercept. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  50. ^ Murray, Stephanie (September 1, 2020). "Markey overcomes Kennedy challenge in Massachusetts". Politico. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  51. ^ "Lauren Birchfield Kennedy". Nationalpartnership.org. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  52. ^ Scott Stump (December 3, 2012). "Congressman-elect Joe Kennedy III is married". MSNBC.
  53. ^ Ted Nesi (January 3, 2012). "Joe Kennedy III met his wife in Warren's Harvard Law class". WPRI-TV. Archived from the original on January 20, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  54. ^ Katie McLeod (December 29, 2015). "Joe Kennedy III announces birth of daughter on Twitter". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  55. ^ "Meet James Matthew Kennedy. Born early this morning and doing great. First gift he received was (appropriately) a Patriots jersey from Grandpa Joe. Thanks to all for the kind words. We are exhausted, over the moon and deeply grateful!". December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  56. ^ Finucane, Martin (January 30, 2018). "6 things to know about Joseph Kennedy III". BostonGlobe.com.
  57. ^ "The Democrat Giving The SOTU Response Is One Of The Richest Lawmakers In Congress". Bustle. January 28, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  58. ^ "Election Results (Massachusetts Senate)". Decision Desk HQ. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  59. ^ Markey Holds Off Joseph Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate Race, New York Times, Jonathan Martin, September 1, 2020. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  60. ^ "Issues: Civil Rights, Kennedy for Congress.
  61. ^ Here’s where Joe Kennedy stands on the hottest issues debated during Ed Markey’s climate change forum, Boston.com, Nik DeCosta-Klipa, November 11, 2019. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  62. ^ "Issues: Communities of Color, Kennedy for Congress.
  63. ^ Stat News, First Opinion, Joseph Kennedy III, November 20, 2018, retrieved August 20, 2020

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Barney Frank
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 4th congressional district

2013–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Steve Beshear
Response to the State of the Union address
2018
Succeeded by
Stacey Abrams
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
David Joyce
United States Representatives by seniority
209th
Succeeded by
Dan Kildee