Congressman-elect Joseph P Kennedy III has a number of hurdles to clear as a freshman heading for Capitol Hill. However, the fourth generation Kennedy will be looking to his famous Grand Uncle Teddy and how he handled himself in congress.
The newest Kennedy on Capitol Hill says that he has learned a lot from his late grand uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy.
Joe K3 told the Boston Herald on Wednesday that “I learned from my uncle, about relationships, and to try to understand that with people you might disagree on nine things out of 10, you do agree on one.”
The late Senator Ted Kennedy is remembered for his top-notch compromising skills and being able to work with rivals, including U.S. Sen. John McCain and President George W. Bush, to push key legislation during his Capitol Hill career.
It’s an important lesson that Joe Kennedy will have to carry with him to Capitol Hill since as a Democrat, he’ll be in the minority party when he begins his term in the GOP-dominated House of Representatives.
“Clearly we’re going to be in the minority,” Kennedy said of House Democrats. “I think that means you go down there, you try to meet as many of the members as you can and try to figure out where you can be effective and how you can be effective.”
Kennedy is aware of the ‘workhorse’ standard he needs to live up to: “That’s something I admired about them,” he said of his family. “I’m very cognizant of the fact for a freshman congressman, you have to be willing to show people you are willing to put in the work.”
Bruce Schulman, a professor at Boston University professor, said, “I think he can certainly evoke the legacy of other Kennedys.”
“Other people might want to bask in the reflective glory of the Kennedy name. You might have other people who might want to co-sponsor a bill with him that they normally wouldn’t with an obscure freshman congressman.”
For now, Kennedy will be keeping his eyes on political happenings and working on the basics of assembling a staff and budget before officially assuming his role in January. A lot of his early goals will be shaped by the upcoming budget and deficit reductions, but he is mindful to keep his campaign priorities of education and the economy in the forefront.
Heading for Congress is only the next step in what could be a bright political future for Kennedy. Professor Schulman added “Everybody expects that Congress is only a way station to bigger and better things.”