WORCESTER -- Ted Kennedy Jr. plans to remain neutral in the race to succeed his late father, saying today that he is still coming to terms with his grief and could not imagine advocating for another person to assume the seat held by his father for nearly 50 years.
Ted Kennedy Jr.
"It's hard for me to get excited, honestly, about it, because it's a tough emotional time," Edward M. Kennedy Jr. said in an interview with the Globe after he delivered the keynote address this morning to the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association.
In the wide-ranging, 20-minute interview, Kennedy said he might feel differently about the race and would follow it more closely if he lived in Massachusetts, or if a close personal friend of the family were running -- one of "the Bill Delahunts or the Ed Markeys of the world," for example.
"People will make the best decision, I'm confident of that," said Kennedy, who lives in a suburb of New Haven, Conn. "I know my dad always thought that elections were a great time to size people up. He had to go before the voters nine times, and he had faith in the process, so I'm sure the most qualified person will be elected to this job."
Kennedy, a former civil rights lawyer who serves as president of an investment firm that primarily works in the health care field, was selected as keynote speaker for the senior care association's annual meeting and trade show because of his work as an advocate for people with disabilities. Kennedy, who had a leg amputated during a childhood bout with bone cancer in 1973, received the organization's "Better Life Award" for his advocacy work and for continuing "his father's legacy as a champion for those in need."
Kennedy, 48, who also serves as a teaching fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, was not interested in seeking the Senate seat in the special election but did not rule out a future bid for office.
"This was not the time, for personal and family reasons," he said. "So close to my father's death, it just didn't feel right to me. But I would be interested down the road, when my kids get older, and I feel like I can bring more to the table through my experiences."
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