Congressman Joe Kennedy is off to a fast start on Capitol Hill, impressing insiders there with his low-key demeanor and his ability to get along.
In an MSNBC profile, Kennedy stated that while aware of his family’s amazing political record, he has to achieve success on his own.
"This is gotta be on my own," says Kennedy, a former state prosecutor and Peace Corps volunteer. "People have got to get to know me, they gotta get to know who I am, what I stand for, what my values are. And I recognize that takes time."
Respect, he says, is something that must be earned. "That just isn't something that's going to be given to you," he says. "It's something you gotta go earn."
Low key and self deprecating, he talked openly about getting lost in the vast Capitol building which happens to most freshmen.
"It's kind of that freshman hazing ritual where nobody really will tell you where you are,It was actually yesterday where I made it over from my office through the underground tunnels and actually popped up where I thought I was going to pop up in the Capitol. First time. I was very proud of myself."
He still gives others goose bumps because of the family history. "It was extra special for me to sit with a Kennedy at a presidential swearing-in," said Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., another freshman.
"But he's one of the most modest, humble individuals you'll ever meet," Swalwell continued. "He stands on his own two feet. That's what's important. He would be in Congress regardless of what his name is ... He's demonstrated nothing but a willingness to do the grunt work like the rest of us."
He knows he has to keep his head down and work hard. He's still going to have to prove it," says constituent Deb Batog "That just isn't something that's going to be given to you,it's something you gotta go earn can he create his own legacy? Nobody knows."
Kennedy is focused on the future, not what his family name meant in the past. “This next year will be a new chapter for our team,” he says. “ There will be new causes to fight for, requiring new resources, organization, and dedication. I have no doubt we'll be ready for whatever comes our way.