Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III is a rising star among the Democrats, who last night spoke on his biggest platform to date.
The Democrat rising star Congressman Joe Kennedy III was introduced to the United States last night by delivering the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union.
His most high-profile engagement before this being an introduction of Elizabeth Warren at 2016’s Democratic National Convention, the young member of the Kennedy clan was plunged into the media spotlight on Tuesday evening, of course, sparking rumors that we may once again see a Kennedy run for the US Presidency. Here’s everything you need to know:
Who is Joe Kennedy III?
Joe Kennedy III is a US Congressman serving in Massachusetts's 4th congressional district. He first won the seat in 2012. The 37-year-old is the grandson of US Senator Robert F. Kennedy, the great-nephew of US President John F. Kennedy and the great-nephew of former US Senator Ted Kennedy.
Kennedy is married to Lauren Anne Birchfield and the couple has two young children together; a daughter Eleanor and a son James born in December 2017. Kennedy and Birchfield met in a Harvard law class taught by none other than Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
He is considered a rising star among the Democratic Party although much of the country may not have heard of him before he was asked to deliver the response to President Trump’s State of the Union on Tuesday evening.
Prior to holding a seat in Congress, Kennedy worked as a Massachusetts prosecutor and served in the Peace Corps, founded by his great-uncle JFK. A bilingual English and Spanish speaker, he traveled to the Dominican Republic with the Peace Corps. Kennedy has previously said that JFK has played a huge influence on the way he undertakes his role as a Congressman, despite being born almost 17 years after his assassination.
“His extraordinary faith in the American people to overcome whatever obstacle is put in front of them if we come together as a people — whether that was civil rights or putting a man on the moon,” he said to WBUR.
“And his call to everybody to find a way to contribute to taking on those challenges, to bringing down those barriers and to push our country forward.
“People care for their community and will invest in their community and will look out for each other if they are challenged to do so. If people are challenged, they will respond. We've got to do a better job — everybody — of, I think, being a little bit more understanding, doing a little bit more listening and then seeing how you can tackle these challenges as a country.”
The Harvard graduate is the only Kennedy currently serving in Congress.
What did Joe Kennedy say in his State of the Union response?
Kennedy stood strongly with Dreamers, in particular, in last night’s response, making use of his Spanish as a sign of his solidarity.
"To all the Dreamers watching tonight, let me be clear: Ustedes son parte de nuestra historia. Vamos a luchar por ustedes y no nos vamos alejar," he said.
"You are a part of our story. We will fight for you. We will not walk away."
As well as mentioning the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movement, he touched briefly on Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, Trump’s attempts at completely rolling back Obamacare, and the President’s tax policies.
“They are turning American life into a zero-sum game,” Kennedy said of Trump’s policies.
“Where, in order for one to win, another must lose. Where we can guarantee America’s safety if we slash our safety net. We can extend health care to Mississippi if we gut it in Massachusetts.
"We can cut taxes for corporations today if we raise them for families tomorrow. We can take care of sick kids if we sacrifice Dreamers.
“We are bombarded with one false choice after another: Coal miners or single moms. Rural communities or inner cities. The coast or the heartland. As if the mechanic in Pittsburgh and the teacher in Tulsa and the daycare worker in Birmingham are somehow bitter rivals, rather than mutual casualties of a system forcefully rigged for those at the top.
“As if the parent who lies awake terrified that their transgender son will be beaten and bullied at school is any more or less legitimate than the parent whose heart is shattered by a daughter in the grips of opioid addiction.”
Will Joe Kennedy ever run for President of the United States?
In recent interviews, he has never completely ruled out a run but has very much spoken about how he wishes to focus more on his family life and two young children right now. That said, after he was revealed to the nation in last night’s State of the Union, we can imagine that some Democrats are hoping a bit of Kennedy magic will put an end to Trump in 2020.
“None of that is on my mind at the moment,” Kennedy told WBUR back in May 2017.
“This job is demanding. I have an amazing wife and a beautiful little girl that I don’t see often enough at the moment. Trying to balance the challenges of a legislative agenda here, trying to push through some bills that I believe in, that I hope will gain bipartisan support, and trying to spend time with an infant little girl is pretty much all the time that I can require at this point.
“This is only something that I think anybody should do if they are committed to wanting to do it,” he explained.
“And if you're not doing it because it's something you believe in that you want to do, it's going to be a pretty brutal experience. And my dad, my family, pushed me pretty hard to make sure that this was something that I wanted to do personally and not for any other reason — and I'm grateful for that.”
Right now Irish bookmakers Paddy Power have Kennedy as 33/1 to win in 2020 but we’re not sure how much you want to set your stock by the same bookies who paid out early on a Hillary win in 2016.
What did you make of Kennedy’s response to the State of the Union? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.