The Kennedy Legacy
Joseph Kennedy’s Congressional Campaign Returns Family Name To The Political Stage
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
The Kennedys are back. Back in the political limelight, that is. In January 2011, Congress reconvened without Patrick Kennedy, making it the first time in 64 years that there was not a Kennedy in office. Joe Kennedy III, son of Joseph Kennedy II (who represented the 8th Congressional District for 12 years) and grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, has announced his campaign for the 4th Congressional District in Massachusetts. He is leading the new generation of Kennedys back into the political realm and is projected to succeed. Approximately 10 BC students work as interns for the Kennedy campaign, including Joe Russo, A&S `13. Russo said, “In this campaign we hear a lot about jobs, healthcare, social services, taxes, and these are all things that as a college senior are about to become major issues in my daily life. When it comes down to it, it’s really important to me to have a voice in congress that will fight for that, and I think Joe Kennedy has that voice.”
Joe Kennedy III won the Democratic primary for congressional chair on Sept. 6, 2012. Having a prominent namesake in Massachusetts politics goes a long way: Kennedy took over 90 percent of the vote, closing the campaigns of opponents Rachel Brown and Herb Robinson. The sitting congressman, Barney Frank, leaves big shoes for Kennedy to fill after over 30 years of service to the district. Kennedy’s opponent, Sean Bielat, ran a strong race against Barney Frank in 2010. Bielat returns to his congressional campaign to defeat a man he claims is better known for his family name than his resume. He likewise sailed through the Republican primary, capturing 70 percent of the vote against former state health commissioner Elizabeth Childs and dentist David Steinhof. Bielat, a businessman and officer in the Marine Corps Reserve, has six years seniority on Joe Kennedy, but Kennedy is already strides ahead in terms of fundraising and the familial political reputation.
Kennedy graduated from Buckingham Browne and Nichols and received his undergraduate degree in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University. He then switched coasts again, coming back to New England to attend Harvard Law School. During his time at Harvard, Kennedy was a prominent member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. The law firm was managed by Harvard students, and led Kennedy to work with members of Boston’s most poverty stricken neighborhoods.
After obtaining his degree, Kennedy spent two years in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. There, he aided in restoration and economic development of communities taken advantage of by visitors of the Rio Damajagua waterfall national park. It should come as no surprise that Kennedy’s platform for this campaign is founded upon economic and social justice.
Kennedy served as a prosecuting attorney for Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket counties. During his time in the courtroom, Kennedy defended victims [predominantly women] of domestic violence and strove to keep drug violence off the streets.
In a letter to his supporters on his own campaign page, Kennedy claimed: “Our number one priority must be getting people back to work. For me, that’s what this election is about.”
In his eyes, this means aiding the small businesses that prevail in the 4th District instead of suppressing their success. Kennedy additionally believes that economic success begins with education, and he plans to invest in the public schooling system to ensure that Massachusetts stays at the top of the learning curve. He believes in shifting the responsibility onto the most fortunate and supports the “Buffet rule,” which states that no household making more than $1 million annually should pay a smaller share in taxable income than any middle class family.
Boston College graduate Will Rasky (BC ’12) is now fully employed by the Kennedy campaign. His transition from BC to working in politics was virtually seamless, as Kennedy embodies the University’s goal for graduates. “I think that the motto ‘men and women for others’ dovetails with the concept of giving your time to a political campaign,” Kennedy said. “You’re reaching out to people who want to see their communities improve. Recognizing the vioce people have by voting for a candidate, I feel that cultivating a community’s voice is extremely important. ” As part of the 4th Congressional District, the campaign feeds off the energy of Chestnut Hill and the community on the Heights.