Rep. Patrick Kennedy: "Taking a New Direction"

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.

Tags: Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Rhode Island-01, Democratic Party, Rhode Island Politics, Rhode Island Politics (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

I'll vote for the candidate

who promises "a bag o' weed".

by Khun David 2010-02-11 11:29PM | 0 recs
one for ya

You'll like Gary Johnson.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-02-12 02:52AM | 0 recs
Surprising, yes

But what I find even more surprising is that RI has two districts. Where do they fit them both?

I hope that unlike MA to the north, the RI democratic party has their act together and will nominate a strong D.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-12 01:09AM | 0 recs
mathing

Its been a week of matching retirements. I don't really buy the spin that either party has an advantage with them. Nearly all seem to be in heavily partisan CD's. Plus, given how acrimoneous the place has become, I can imagine how folks want to move on with something better than suiting up for what its become.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-02-12 02:51AM | 0 recs
Terms

Personally I think all these people serve too long. We are not well served by folks serving in the congress or Senate for 20 plus years. We need to impose term limits. 12 years in both houses, than its time to move on. Most of these folks are completely out of touch.....clean up campaign finance and impose terms limits and we will see a completely different congress and senate.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-02-12 10:45AM | 0 recs
RE: Terms

Make it 12 years for Presidents too and we have a deal! Personally I also think Senators should have their terms reduced to 4 years.

by vecky 2010-02-12 03:12PM | 0 recs
Of course

I wouldnt be surprise to see Kennedy re establish residency in MA so that he can run for the Senate seat down the road

by BuckeyeBlogger 2010-02-12 10:47AM | 1 recs
It's Hard Out Here For A...

All due respect... what's the point of this ad?

There's a thing about "Kennedy mystique" notions in Democratic politics that often gets taken granted, but I think deserves challenging: Patrick Kennedy's presonalization of his officeholding is ultimately kind of off-putting, and a good indication of why his retirement is overdue.

There are so many assumptions in the worldview on display - assumptions about privilege, birthright, never mind celebrity narcissism - that it's hard to know where to begin. Perhpas the most striking is the lack of any line between public and private: nothing, not even the passing of one's own father, is apparently a private matter enough not to wear it on one's televised sleeve for the world to see.

I think the point of these retirements is coming clear: if you've been coasting in office on easy money and family connections and such... it's probably time to go. Incumbency, which is supposed to provide the great bulletproof shield in reelection, is not likely to help this year. If there's a reason to respect Kennedy's decision, it's because he seems to have reached it rather organically, rather than being pushed or losing his race. But still. One could point out, reasonably, that in many ways this was simply long, long overdue.

by nycweboy1 2010-02-13 08:52AM | 0 recs

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