Shortly, for the first time in over 50 years, no member of the Kennedy family will hold national office.
As the Kennedy era comes to an end, Ed Kennedy’s son, Patrick is leaving his political life behind in a bid to step away from the public eye. Shortly he will no longer be a congressman from Rhode Island.
“I know it fits some narrative that, ‘Oh, I’m the last Kennedy,’ ” Patrick Kennedy told The New York Times, “But any one survey of what my family is doing out there in a million different ways fits with my family legacy.”
The 43-year-old plans to return to Rhode Island where he will settle into his newly renovated farmhouse in Portsmouth.
“It’s a pretty dramatic fall, and it’s symbolic of the decline of liberalism, ” says Darrell M. West, a Brookings Institution scholar.
“This is a family that once had the presidency and two Senate seats, and they’re now down to the mayor of Santa Monica,” he told the New York Times.
However, Kennedy disagrees “My family legacy was never just about government service,” said Kennedy recently.
“It was about giving back, and the branding of President Kennedy’s call for Americans to give back to their country,” he added.
At just 21-years-of-age Mr Kennedy was elected to the Rhode Island House of Representatives in 1988.
He said in the past he never considered a life outside politics, as he was so dedicated to emulating his father’s passion for public service.
Kennedy has said he will continue his work as an advocate for ending the stigma of mental illness. He also hopes to improve how disorders such as Parkinson’s disease are treated and understood.
The Rhode Island resident was treated himself for cocaine addiction in his teens and later become addicted to painkillers. He plans to pen his memoirs entitled “Coming Clean” which will detail his struggles.
“Ultimately, I see telling my own story as a more palatable way to get out the story of the neuroscience,” Mr. Kennedy said. “I don’t want to be talking about salacious details for the purpose of salacious details, but for the purpose of fitting it into a context to describe a bigger story.”
Upon leaving Capitol Hill, Kennedy plans to organize a brain research conference for May in Boston which will coincide with the 50th anniversary of JFK’s speech to congress, proposing to send man to the moon.