Joe Kennedy IIIgrandson of Robert Kennedy launched his campaign for the Massachusetts 4th congressional district on Thursday.

Kennedy released an official statement on his campaign web site. He is the overwhelming favorite to take the seat formerly held by Barney Frank.

Kennedy undertook a campaign swing through several locations in the district. On Friday he will be on hand to welcome Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny when he visits the Kennedy Library in Dorchester.

is a former prosecutor and peace corps volunteer who has followed his father Joe Junior, a former Congressman and his famous grandfather, Robert Kennedy and his brothers JFK and Teddy Kennedy, into politics.

“I’m very proud of my family’s record of public service to the Commonwealth and the country,” Kennedy said after meeting and greeting commuters at a train station in Newton. “This campaign — any campaign — is going to be about the issues and about who goes out and earns it.”

Mike Shea, a veteran Massachusetts Democratic consultant, said  the Kennedy name will only take him so far.

“The family name and connections give him a podium to stand on from the beginning,”  Shea told Associated Press  “But voters in his district are smart and well-informed. They will take a hard look at how he performs and then make a judgment.”

Kennedy now heads to Washington where he will hold a fundraiser on the 80th birthday of his uncle, Teddy Kennedy.