joe kennedy III
In the battle over the government shutdown, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi continues to receive support from all but one of the four Southern New England Democrats who serve in the U.S. House.
Congressmen David Cicilline, Jim Langevin and Joe Kennedy III all stood by Pelosi on Thursday and voted against measures sponsored by the Republican leadership that would have restored funding for veterans and the National Guard. Democrats are refusing to agree to those and other GOP proposals that would only partly end the government shutdown that began Tuesday.
Only 157 of 435 congressmen – all Democrats – voted against the funding for veterans, a roll-call vote tailor-made for attack ads in next year’s campaign. The local exception was Democratic Congressman Bill Keating, who represents Cape Cod and is occasionally mentioned as a possible Republican target in 2014.
Keating broke with Cicilline, Langevin and Kennedy on Thursday to back both military funding measures, after also breaking with the Democrats Wednesday and voting to restore funds for the National Institutes of Health. But he joined the other Democrats in opposing a GOP bill to provide funding to reopen the national parks.
Each of the measures is expected to be dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate.
The bills to restore funding for popular federal functions were designed by GOP leaders to make their opponents feel the heat, and the fact that Cicilline, Langevin and Kennedy voted no anyway suggests they are among the most loyal – and politically safe – Democrats in the country.
Democrats hold an advantage in all four congressmen’s districts: President Obama won 66% of the vote in Cicilline’s district, 60% in Langevin’s, 57% in Kennedy’s and 56% in Keating’s last year.
• Related: Photo: Biden, Joe Kennedy III talk Syria in the Situation Room (Sept. 6)
As the White House struggles to win a majority in Congress for its proposed strikes on Syria, administration officials continue to meet with leading congressmen and senators to discuss the situation. Vice President Joe Biden’s office released this photo of him in the Situation Room with lawmakers including freshman Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee:
Kennedy may have been invited because as of Tuesday he was still undecided about whether to support the White House on the Syria resolution. “Thanks to those of you who have candidly and thoughtfully shared your opinions with me regarding the situation in Syria,” he wrote on Facebook that day.
“Prior to any vote on next steps, I will be going through the evidence of chemical weapons use and other classified material, reviewing the details of the administration’s proposed response and carefully looking at the information that comes to light through upcoming briefings and congressional hearings,” Kennedy wrote.
Rhode Island Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline are also publicly undecided, though Cicilline is clearly leaning heavily toward voting against the resolution. As for Langevin, he wrote on Twitter Thursday: “I haven’t made any decisions on Syria and will continue to weigh options.”
• Related: Jack Reed: Shadow of Iraq weighing on decisions over Syria (Aug. 30)
(photo: White House)
By Ted Nesi
ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) – Freshman Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III isn’t just one of the youngest members of Congress. He’s also one of the wealthiest.
• Related: Patrick Kennedy inherits millions from late father Ted (Aug. 25, 2010)
Surveying the diminished clout of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation, Stonehill College’s Peter Ubertaccio writes for The Boston Globe:
The Bay State now ranks last in Senate seniority, and no member of the Massachusetts congressional delegation holds a committee chair or leadership position in either the Senate or the House. For the first time since early 1919, no member of our House delegation has served with a speaker from Massachusetts. …
Senator Edward Kennedy’s death in 2009 ruptured an important historical axis upon which the Commonwealth so depended for its influence. …
Why does this matter? Seniority, leadership, and clout bring two key benefits: prioritizing federal dollars and articulating political values. …
There is no easy solution to our dilemma. It requires the continued cultivation of political leaders who see their futures within the institutions they now call home.
This is a real challenge for Massachusetts. When I asked U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in January what makes an effective senator, his first response was: “Seniority, which you can’t do much about – it is what it is – but as time goes by you need to be ramping it up the match your seniority.”
By Ted Nesi
ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) – Former Boston Celtics player Jason Collins became the first openly gay active athlete in a major U.S. sport on Monday, and he’s crediting Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III with helping him make the announcement.
• Related: Enthusiastic Joe Kennedy III says it’s ‘surreal’ to join Congress (Jan. 7)
By Tim White
EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Newly minted Congressman Joe Kennedy III is crediting the freshman class of the U.S. House with being more open to finding common ground in the hyper-partisan atmosphere of Washington, D.C., as he pushes for the South Coast Rail project and a $10.10 minimum wage.
By Ted Nesi
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WPRI) – Hours before Joe Kennedy III’s swearing-in last week, his brand-new congressional office looked like a college dorm room on freshman move-in day.
• Related: Joe Kennedy III met his wife in Warren’s Harvard Law class (Jan. 3)
WASHINGTON – Wayne Gretzky retired more than a decade ago, but he’s still inspiring congressional Democrats from Southern New England.
In separate interviews this week, Rhode Island U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and newly elected Mass. Congressman Joe Kennedy III both cited the wisdom of the legendary Canadian hockey star as a model for how they’ll approach the 113th Congress.
“If you remember the great Wayne Gretzky,” Whitehouse told WPRI.com, “he used to say you become a great hockey player not when you go to where the puck is but when you go to where the puck is going to be. And I think there’s four issues where the puck is going to be where we really need to be working hard even if it’s not the so-called issue of the moment.”
Whitehouse’s four issues: climate change, the oceans, cybersecurity, and streamlining the way health care gets delivered.
The next morning, Kennedy had the same lesson on his mind.
“Wayne Gretzky was famous for saying he doesn’t go where the puck is, he goes to where the puck’s going to be,” he said, arguing that members of Congress need to think the same way.
Informed that Senator Whitehouse had used Gretzky’s famous aphorism less than 24 hours earlier, Kennedy said, “Did he really? You’re kidding me!” He laughed and added: “Maybe he and I can talk about that.”
WASHINGTON – Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Warren’s class was an important one for future congressman Joe Kennedy III, and not just because he and his teacher would soon be serving together in Congress.
Kennedy, 32, met his wife, Lauren Birchfield, when they were both students in Warren’s class. “He sat in the front row, on my left, and Lauren was in the back row on my right,” Warren recalled Thursday in an interview with WPRI.com.
Kennedy and Birchfield married last month. “Joe tells me there are five couples from that class, and I take credit for all of them!” Warren said.
“She was and is an amazing professor,” Kennedy, who received his law degree in 2009, said in a separate interview. “There’s a reason she always wins the best-teacher award.”
He recalled: “I’d get lost in the intricacies of the bankruptcy code, and I’d go up to her office, and this was when she was the overseer of TARP – and she’d say, ‘Yes, senator, yes, senator, I need to go because I have a student here.’”
“He was a good student,” Warren said, laughing.
Joe Kennedy III will be in Attleboro on Saturday to raise money for his congressional campaign.
Former State Rep. Max Volterra and his wife, Marion, will host the “grassroots fundraiser” at their home in the city on Saturday from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The suggested contribution is $25. The event will be held on the last day of the fundraising quarter, which will offer the first indication of Kennedy’s ability to raise money.
Attleboro is one of the largest cities in Massachusetts’ overhauled 4th Congressional District, the pre-redistricting version of which is now represented by Congressman Barney Frank. Kennedy held one of his campaign kickoff events in Attleboro on Feb. 16 and has returned to the area for other events since then.
Republicans Sean Bielat, who made an unsuccessful bid to unseat Frank in 2010, and Elizabeth Childs are both seeking their party’s nominations in the 4th District, as are Democrats Herb Robinson and Jules Levine. So far, though, this latest Kennedy campaign is looking like a juggernaut.
• Related: Kennedy III kickoff shows power of dynasty, Elizabeth Warren (Feb. 16)
(photo: Kennedy campaign)
ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — Never underestimate the power of dynasty.
If you squint, the political leadership in this corner of Southern New England could be straight out of 1962. A governor named Chafee is running Rhode Island, while a Kennedy barely past his 30th birthday is making a bid for Congress many view as a coronation.
But Joe Kennedy III’s arrival in Attleboro on Thursday for a lunchtime campaign kickoff offered clear evidence that, gripes aside, his family name is still far more of an asset than a liability here in the Bay State – no surprise considering an early poll gave the newcomer a 32-point lead over his would-be Republican opponent.
Kennedy’s response to those critics will sound familiar to anyone who covered Patrick Kennedy in 1994 or, for that matter, Ted Kennedy in 1962. “It’s my name on the ballot,” he told reporters. “I’m extremely proud of my family’s service here and across the country.” Translation: I’m my own man – oh, and I’m a Kennedy.
• New: Kennedy name still has clout (Feb. 16)
Joe Kennedy III will kick off his campaign for Massachusetts’ newly redrawn 4th Congressional District seat on Thursday with a few local stops.
Kennedy’s daylong campaign kickoff will take him to five key communities in the 4th District, including stops at Morin’s restaurant in Attleboro at noon and New Weir Pizza in Taunton at 5 p.m., his exploratory committee said. He’ll also make appearances in Newton, Milford and Westport.
“I’ve spoken to people from across the 4th Congressional District - from Newton to Fall River - who believe that Washington no longer works for them,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I will work hard to earn every vote and if elected bring that fight for fairness to the US Congress.”
Kennedy, 30, is the son of former Congressman Joe Kennedy and grandson of the late Robert F. Kennedy. He jumped into the race after Congressman Barney Frank decided to retire rather than learn the ins and outs of an overhauled constituency.
The Boston Globe called Kennedy’s announcement “perhaps the least surprising in recent Massachusetts political history.” A poll this month gave him a whopping 32-point lead over his Republican opponent, Sean Bielat, whom Frank defeated 54%-43% in 2010. The survey showed Kennedy at 60% and Bielat at 28%.
• Related: New-look 4th District likely pushed Barney Frank to retire (Nov. 28)
(photo: Kennedy campaign)
Congressman David Cicilline is likely to hold onto his seat in November but faces more risk of losing than his colleague Jim Langevin, according to new House race rankings released Thursday by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
Cicilline’s 1st Congressional District is among 94 U.S. House seats out of 435 rated as potentially competitive for the opposition party by the organization, whose director is the prominent political prognosticator Larry Sabato.
Cicilline’s seat is ranked as “likely Democratic,” which “effectively means that we are watching this race,” Kyle Kondik’s the center’s House editor, wrote in an analysis. Cicilline is being challenged by Republican Brendan Doherty, former superintendent of the state police, and may face a primary from businessman Anthony Gemma.
Langevin’s 2nd District is rated as “safe Democratic,” one of 341 seats where Republicans (189) or Democrats (152) face no risk of losing. In Massachusetts, the new 4th District seat being vacated by Barney Frank and sought by Joe Kennedy III is also rated “safe Democratic,” as is Congressman William Keating’s 9th District seat.
For Democrats to win 25 House seats and retake the House, “President Obama will need to win next year, and that probably won’t be enough,” Kondik wrote. ”What Democrats really need is a poisonous, damaged Republican nominee who not only loses to Obama but causes harm down the ticket.”
• Related: Forecast: Obama likely to win again in Rhode Island, Mass. (April 22)