13 February 2010

Patrick Kennedy to leave Congress

It became public yesterday that Patrick Kennedy, the youngest son of the late Edward Moore Kennedy, will not seek re-election to the House of Representatives this fall. His retirement means that the Congress for the first time since 1962 - when Ted Kennedy filled the gap by being elected to the Senate two years after his brother John F. Kennedy was elected president - will not have at least one representative from the Kennedy family.

Many will ask if Patrick Kennedy's decision to step down represents the political end of the Kennedy dynasty. Others have commented somewhat sarcastically that the political dynasty ended already at Chappaquiddick. A rather strange comment considering how many members of the family that have been involved in national and regional politics since 1969. Even if Ted Kennedy's hopes of becoming President died following the Chappaquiddick tragedy, both he and other members have been rather influential on the political scene in the USA. Patrick Kennedy has himself commented to the Boston Globe that "I wouldn't count us out for good". Only time will show.

The 42 years old Patrick Kennedy became a Rhode Island state representative in 1988 while attending Providence College and was re-elected twice before heading for the Congress in 1994, representing the First District of Rhode Island. His eight period in Washington will in other words be his last. According to the Boston Globe his greatest contributions as a lawmaker were on mental health issues.


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