Patrick J. Kennedy
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|Patrick J. Kennedy|
|Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee|
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2001
|Preceded by||Martin Frost|
|Succeeded by||Nita Lowey|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Rhode Island's 1st district
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Ronald Machtley|
|Succeeded by||David Cicilline|
|Member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives
from the 9th district
January 1, 1989 – January 1, 1993
|Preceded by||John F. Skeffington, Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Anastasia P. Williams|
|Born||Patrick Joseph Kennedy II
July 14, 1967
Brighton, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Amy Savell (m. 2011)|
|Relations||See Kennedy family|
Joan Bennett Kennedy
|Residence||Brigantine, New Jersey,
|Alma mater||Providence College (B.S.)|
|Website||Patrick Kennedy Homepage
partrickkennedy.house.gov (Kennedy's section at the U.S. House of Representatives official website)
kennedyforri.com, ("Patrick J. Kennedy for U.S. Congress" campaign's official website)
Patrick Joseph Kennedy II (born July 14, 1967) is an American politician and mental health advocate. From 1995 to 2011 he served as a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Rhode Island's 1st congressional district.
A member of the Kennedy family, he is the younger son of the long-time Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and is a nephew of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy. At the time of his father's 2009 death, he was the last remaining member of the Kennedy family to serve in an elective office in Washington. After he chose not to seek re-election in 2010 and left office the following year, it was the first time that there were no members of the Kennedy family holding office in the United States Congress or as President since 1947. This persisted until 2013, when Joseph P. Kennedy III, grandson of Robert F. Kennedy was sworn-in for Massachusetts's 4th congressional district.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Rhode Island House of Representatives
- 3 U.S. House of Representatives
- 4 Political campaigns
- 5 Political positions
- 6 Personal issues and incidents
- 7 Political controversies
- 8 Personal life and family
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Early life and education
Patrick Kennedy was born in Brighton, Massachusetts. He is the youngest of three children born to Senator Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (1932–2009) and musician/socialite/former model Virginia Joan Bennett (born 1936). His sister Kara (1960–2011) was a television and film producer while his brother Ted Jr. (born 1961) is a lawyer and member of the Connecticut State Senate. Patrick was named after his patrilineal great-grandfather, businessman and politician Patrick Joseph "P. J." Kennedy (1858–1929). Kennedy graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, in 1986, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1991.
Rhode Island House of Representatives
While a junior at Providence College, Kennedy defeated five term incumbent John F. Skeffington Jr. for the Democratic nomination in District 9. Kennedy became the youngest member of the Kennedy family to hold elected office in 1988, when he won election to the Rhode Island House of Representatives at age 21. He served two terms in the House representing District 9 in Providence, Rhode Island. He chose not to run for a third term, and was succeeded by Anastasia P. Williams.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 1994 Kennedy was elected as a Democrat to represent the 1st Congressional District of Rhode Island. He was reelected seven times, and served from January 3, 1995, to January 3, 2011 (the 104th to 111th Congresses).
Kennedy was a founder of the Congressional Down Syndrome and 21st Century Healthcare Caucuses, and a vice chairman of the Native American Caucus. He also joined the House or Congressional: Boating Caucus; Caucus on Armenian Issues; Caucus on Hellenic Issues; Fire Services Caucus; Human Rights Caucus; Travel and Tourism Caucus; National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus; Portuguese American Caucus (co-chair); and Older American Caucus. He was a founder of the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse, and chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for two years (1999-2001). During his tenure as DCCC chairman, Kennedy became a headliner at Democratic political events and fundraisers around the country.
- U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
- U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
- U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
Kennedy campaigned for the seat being vacated by U.S. Representative Ronald Machtley (who was retiring) in the 1994 Rhode Island 1st congressional district election. He won the election, defeating Republican candidate Kevin Vigilante. Kennedy was one of four Democrats in the 1994 congressional elections to win a congressional seat that had previously been held by a Republican, while Republicans gained dozens of seats to take over the U.S. House. He was reelected every two years from 1996 until 2008, and did not run for reelection in 2010.
In 2000 Kennedy considered running against Republican Lincoln Chafee in the U.S. Senate election in Rhode Island, but instead chose to run for reelection. Kennedy had recently won appointment to the House Appropriations Committee, a high-profile assignment that caused him to pass up the Senate race. He again considered running against Chafee in 2006, but instead chose to run for reelection.
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Kennedy was a vocal advocate for health care reform. During his career, he joined with Republican U.S. Senator Pete Domenici from New Mexico in introducing legislation that places mental illness under the umbrella of health insurance.
He was a chief sponsor of one of the major pieces of legislation of 2008, the Mental Health Parity Act, a bill requiring most group health plans to provide coverage for the treatment of mental illnesses that is comparable to what they provide for physical illnesses.
He was a strong proponent of adding a comprehensive prescription-drug benefit to the U.S. Medicare and consistently opposed attempts to privatize the Medicare program. Kennedy also made numerous speeches advocating the reorientation of the U.S. health-care system to preventive care. He received numerous awards for his health-care advocacy, including the Lymphoma Research Foundation's Paul E. Tsongas Memorial Award as well as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Congressional Honors Award. He also received the Society for Neuroscience — Public Service Award (2002), Eli Lilly and Company 2003 Helping Move Lives Forward Reintegration Award, American Psychoanalytic Association 2003 President's Award, American Psychiatric Association Alliance award (2003), and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance — Paul Wellstone Mental Health Award (2003).
In a March 7, 2008, speech to the Cleveland City Club, Kennedy acknowledged having bipolar disorder and being a recovering alcoholic. He and his siblings have legal custody of their mother, who has long struggled with alcoholism. Kennedy is co-founder of One Mind for Research, which seeks to increase resources and efficiency in brain disorder research, and The Kennedy Forum, an organization focused on advancing the current ideas, policies, and programming in behavioral health known to be effective.
2008 presidential election
On January 28, 2008, Kennedy joined his father in endorsing Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, stating that Obama was the "perfect antidote to George Bush". Prior to that, Kennedy had joined his first cousin Timothy Shriver in endorsing U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd from Connecticut.
Personal issues and incidents
Use of alcohol and other drugs
Kennedy has acknowledged being treated for cocaine use during his teenage years, and admitted that he abused alcohol and other drugs while he was a student at Providence College. He sought treatment for an OxyContin addiction in 2006. Due to his experience with addiction, Patrick J. Kennedy has started to advocate against the legalization of marijuana.
Capitol Hill intoxicated-driving accident
On May 4, 2006, Kennedy crashed his automobile into a barricade on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., at 2:45 a.m. A United States Capitol Police official said the congressman had appeared intoxicated when he crashed his car, but Kennedy claimed that he was disoriented from the prescription medications Ambien and Phenergan.[dead link] Anonymous sources are alleged to have seen Kennedy drinking at the nearby Hawk & Dove bar prior to the accident. Kennedy also stated to officers that he was "late for a vote". However, the last vote of the night had occurred almost six hours earlier. The standard field sobriety test was not administered, and Kennedy was driven home by an officer.
On May 5, 2006, Kennedy admitted that he had an addiction to prescription medication and announced he would be readmitting himself to a drug-rehabilitation facility at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota where he had sought treatment for prior addictions. He has stated that he has no recollection of the car crash. On May 8, 2006, Kennedy got a show of support when he was endorsed by the Rhode Island Democratic Party. On June 5, 2006, Kennedy was released from drug rehabilitation.
On June 13, 2006, Kennedy made a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence of prescription drugs. He was sentenced to one-year probation and a fine of $350. Two of the three charges (reckless driving and failure to exhibit a driving permit) were dismissed. He was also ordered to attend a rehabilitation program that includes weekly urine tests, twice-weekly meetings with a probation officer, near-daily Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and a weekly meeting of recovering addicts.
On Friday, June 12, 2009, Kennedy again announced that he had "checked into a medical facility for treatment". In a statement to the press, Kennedy said that his recovery is a "lifelong process" and that he would do whatever it takes to preserve his health. "I have decided to temporarily step away from my normal routine to ensure that I am being as vigilant as possible in my recovery", Kennedy said.
During a 1996 debate on a bill to repeal a ban on assault weapons, he was involved in a dispute with Republican Gerald B. H. Solomon. While arguing against repeal, he described his family's experience with gun violence, referring to uncles President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, both of whom were assassinated by gunmen, and describing repeal as a "sham". In response, Solomon replied that his wife lived alone in rural upstate New York during the week, and ought to have a right to defend herself if need be. Continuing to argue away from the microphones on the House floor, Solomon said "let's just step outside" and settle the argument. The 29 year old Kennedy declined to become involved in a physical altercation with the 66 year old Solomon.
In 2003, Kennedy was criticized for saying "I don't need Bush's tax cut. I have never worked a fucking day in my life." His staff explained Kennedy's comment as a satirical argument against tax cuts for the wealthy, including him, some of whom have inherited their money.
In 2007, Kennedy stated that his campaign would retain $6,600 in donations from Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu, who had been convicted that year of a Ponzi scheme fraud. Kennedy was one of the few Democrats not to return or donate Hsu's contributions.
In February 2007, Kennedy was asked to refrain from receiving Holy Communion by his bishop, Thomas Tobin. Kennedy later said that the bishop had asked priests not to give him the sacrament "because of the positions that I’ve taken as a public official", particularly on abortion. Tobin acknowledged that he had requested Kennedy not to receive communion but not that he had asked priests to deny Kennedy the sacrament.
Kennedy criticized Republican Senator Scott Brown for demanding to be sworn in as a Senator as soon as the election results from the 2010 Massachusetts special senate election were certified: "Brown's whole candidacy was shown to be a joke today when he was sworn in early in order to cast his first vote as an objection to Obama's appointment to the NLRB." Senator Brown responded, "I was elected and the votes are certified and I’m here to do my job. It's unfortunate that he would use mean-spirited comments like that at a time when we’re just trying to solve the problems of the Commonwealth."
On March 10, 2010, Kennedy spoke regarding the war in Afghanistan, during a debate of a measure calling for the end of the war in Afghanistan. He yelled so loudly at times that he went hoarse until he was finally finished with his three-minute speech. He anticipated that some would object to his demand to withdraw from Afghanistan by claiming such withdrawal would dishonor those who have already fallen. His comment was, "Somewhere—I can't believe I even heard this—someone said 'Oh, I can't go to a funeral, and tell the parents of someone who just died that they lost their child in vain'. Somewhere, I heard that during the Vietnam War." After requesting an additional 30 seconds and being granted the time, Kennedy also went after the media for lack of coverage of the war, citing only two press members in the gallery at the time and "24/7" media coverage of the resignation of Eric Massa.
Personal life and family
His father, Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, died on August 25, 2009. Patrick made a tearful eulogy at the funeral, saying that "He [Ted] would be very proud to see you all out here today paying a final respect and tribute to his memory". He further elaborated on his experiences with his father as a child, saying his father would stay at his bedside during his frequent bouts of ill health.
When Kennedy decided not to run for reelection in 2010, he cited his decision on the fact that his life "has taken a new direction". Mark Weiner, a major Democratic fundraiser in Rhode Island and one of Kennedy's top financial backers, said "It's tough to get up and go to work every day when your partner is not there, I think he just had a broken heart after his father passed away."
Kennedy now resides in Brigantine, New Jersey. In March 2011 he announced his engagement to sixth-grade history teacher Amy Savell (born c. 1975) (daughter of Jerry and Leni Savell). Amy has a daughter, Harper Petitgout (born c. 2008), from her previous marriage to Mark Petitgout. Kennedy and Savell married on July 15, 2011, in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. Patrick and Amy have three children:
- Owen Patrick Kennedy (born April 15, 2012)
- Nora Kara Kennedy (born November 19, 2013)
- Nell Elizabeth Kennedy (born November 29, 2015)
- Darryl R. Isherwood (February 15, 2013). "Kennedy rules out 2014 run, endorses Pallone for Senate". PolitickerNJ.com. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
- Politics, Matthew Jaffe, University of Chicago Institute of. "Patrick Kennedy opens up about addiction". CNN. Retrieved 2016-07-09.
- Levenson, Michael (February 13, 2010). "Pondering a Congress without Kennedys". The Boston Globe.
- Staff writer (n.d.). "Kennedy, Patrick Joseph, (1967–)". bioguide.congress.gov (a database module of congress.gov, a part of the U.S. Library of Congress website). Retrieved September 1, 2009.
- Associated Press (1988-09-15). "Campaign '88 : Patrick Kennedy Wins". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-07-04.
- "Rep. Patrick Kennedy: 'Won't Seek Reelection'". YouTube. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- Rucker, Philip (March 12, 2010). "Patrick Kennedy discusses leaving Congress after 16 years". The Washington Post.
- Staff writer (January 28, 2008). "Patrick Kennedy to Join Father in Endorsing Obama for President". The Boston Globe. Associated Press. Archived from the original on August 21, 2009. Retrieved September 1, 2009.
- Staff writer (April 19, 2001). "Approval Ratings Fall for Rhode Island Rep. Kennedy". Fox News. Retrieved September 1, 2009.
- Staff writer (March 16, 2007). "Rep. Kennedy: I Was Hooked on OxyContin". San Francisco Chronicle. Associated Press. Retrieved September 1, 2009.[dead link]
- [dead link]Miga, Andrew (May 5, 2006). "Police Report Filed in Kennedy Car Crash". Associated Press.
- [dead link]Wedge, Dave (May 5, 2006). "Pat cites pills in car wreck". Boston Herald.
- [dead link]Wedge, Dave (May 12, 2006). "Cops Told Pat K Was at Watering Hole Before Crash". Boston Herald.
- Miga, Andrew (May 6, 2006). "Rep. Patrick Kennedy to Enter Drug Rehab". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved September 1, 2009.
- Mayerowitz, Scott (May 9, 2006). "Kennedy Gets Support from Democratic Party — The U.S. Representative, Who Entered Drug Rehabilitation Treatment in Minnesota Last Week, Is Among Those Endorsed by R.I. Democrats at Their Convention". The Providence Journal. Retrieved September 1, 2009.
- [dead link]Lewis, Richard (June 5, 2006). "Rep. Kennedy Released from Drug Rehab Clinic". Reuters.
- [dead link]Miga, Andrew (June 13, 2006). "Patrick Kennedy pleads guilty to DUI". Associated Press.
- Akers, Mary Ann (July 13, 2006). "Life After Fender Bender". Roll Call. Retrieved September 1, 2009.
- Lynch, Dotty; Chaggaris, Steve (June 27, 2003). "Washington Wrap". CBS News. Retrieved September 1, 2009.
- Staff writer (September 4, 2007). "Arrest Warrant Issued For Fugitive Fundraiser Hsu". KTVU News. Archived from the original on August 21, 2009. Retrieved September 1, 2009.
- "Bishop bars Patrick Kennedy from Communion over abortion". CNN. November 22, 2009.
- EDT (February 5, 2010). "Patrick Kennedy's sour grapes over Scott Brown". Washington Examiner. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- EDT (February 5, 2010). "Brown slaps back at Patrick Kennedy". Washington Examiner. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- "Patrick Kennedy rips media coverage of war". BostonHerald.com. Associated Press. March 10, 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- "As Kennedy laid to rest, a papal prayer request is revealed – CNN.com". CNN. August 30, 2009. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- "Broadcast Yourself". YouTube. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- Thursday, February 11, 2010 (February 11, 2010). "Patrick Kennedy won't seek re-election". Washington Times. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- Williams, Eric. "Patrick's day!". Boston Herald. Retrieved July 16, 2011.
- Drake, Danny (April 17, 2012). "Patrick Kennedy, wife bring baby Owen home from N.J. hospital". Providence Journal.
- "It's a girl for Patrick and Amy Kennedy". providencejournal. November 19, 2013.
- "Ex-US Rep. Patrick Kennedy and Wife Welcome New Baby Girl". The Associated Press. November 29, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Patrick J. Kennedy at the Internet Movie Database
- Official Site
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Rhode Island's 1st congressional district