Rep. Patrick Kennedy: "Taking a New Direction"
by Charles Lemos, Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 10:54:36 PM EST
Representative Patrick Kennedy who represents the Rhode Island First Congressional District will announce this weekend that he will retire after eight terms in Congress according to the Associated Press.
A Democratic official says Rep. Patrick Kennedy has decided not to seek re-election for his seat representing Rhode Island in the U.S. Congress.
The official spoke to The Associated Press only on the condition that his name not be used because he was not authorized to speak ahead of the official announcement.
The decision by the eight-term congressman comes less than a month after a stunning Republican upset in the race for the Massachusetts Senate seat his late father, Edward Kennedy, held for almost half a century.
Patrick Kennedy has been in and out of treatment for substance abuse since crashing his car outside the U.S Capitol in 2006. Still, he has been comfortably re-elected twice since then, after making mental health care his signature issue in Washington.
Kennedy plans to air two-minute commercials about his decision to air on three Rhode Island TV stations on Sunday night.
In his recorded video, the son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy is quoted as saying that his life is "taking a new direction." The two minute ad, emotional at times but heartfelt throughout, will air Sunday night.
Unless another scion of the Kennedy political dynasty chooses to run, Congress will be without a Kennedy for the first time since 1962, when the late Senator Kennedy was first elected.
Rep. Kennedy becomes the 14th Democrat to announce his retirement before this year's midterms. His Rhode Island district, however, is solidly Democratic giving Gore, Kerry and Obama well over 60 percent of the vote in the last three presidential elections. 18 Republicans have declared they will retire.
The Rhode Island First Congressional district covers the northern and eastern parts of the Ocean State. The district includes parts of Providence as well as most of Rhode Island's other major cities including Newport, Pawtucket and Woonsocket. While it's too early to tell who will jump in on the Democratic side, on the GOP side, John Loughlin, a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and current member of the Rhode Island House, had already announced.