The next President Kennedy? That’s how a Town & Country profile by Boston Globe reporter Matt Viser introduces Rep. Joe Kennedy III.
The article, published online Thursday, tracks the 36-year-old Massachusetts congressman’s meteoric rise to become “the most prominent Kennedy on the national scene.”
From the foundational to the amusing, here are four details about the young Newton Democrat from Town & Country‘s feature.
1. At Stanford, Kennedy was “the soccer dad”
As undergraduates at Stanford University, Kennedy and his twin brother, Matt, didn’t even have the biggest political name on campus.
“Chelsea Clinton was there at that point,” Kennedy said. “You could tell who she was because there would be three guys with empty backpacks behind her.”
Kennedy roomed with Stanford basketball player (and fellow twin) Jason Collins, who went on to play 14 seasons in the NBA and was the league’s first openly gay player.
Collins recalled how Kennedy prioritized his studies over parties, reading books over playing video games.
“Joe’s the guy you call when something goes wrong,” Collins said. “He’s the soccer dad.”
Viser also wrote that Kennedy abstained from alcohol and instead opted for milk—a lot of it.
“He kept pace with us glass for glass,’’ Kennedy’s former college roommate David Kaufman previously told The Boston Globe.
2. Kennedy said he draws on his experience in the Peace Corps “every single day”
After college, Kennedy joined the Peace Corps — which, coincidentally, was founded by his great-uncle President John F. Kennedy — and for several years worked in the Dominican Republic helping local residents set up a sustainable waterfall tour business.
Despite falling ill due to a parasite and even once being mistaken for a witch due to his red hair, Kennedy said that witnessing the inequities of abject poverty in person led to his current career path.
“There’s nothing those kids, those babies or young men I was working with—there was nothing they could ever do that was going to get them to Harvard Law School,” he told Town & Country. “I was no more talented, I was no smarter, I was no better than any of them. I just had the resources and support and platform. It was a struggle for them to make sure they could turn the lights on. I would not be here at all but for that experience. I draw on it every single day.”
3. Collins still teases Kennedy for his “big sheepdog” red hair
Kennedy was nicknamed “The Beacon” by prep school classmates for his bright red hair. To this day, Collins still teases him for it.
“It could become like a big sheepdog,” he said. “Like, big, red, sheepdog hair. It could get a little out of control.”
Collins added, “That was his huge flaw: not having enough product in his hair.”
4. Kennedy said that his family is “big, it’s large, it’s amazing”
The Kennedy clan is widespread and far-flung, but according to Kennedy, everyone circles back to the historic family compound in Hyannis Port for the holidays.
“For Thanksgiving it’s so many people that you’re just trying to find a shred of space,” he told the publication. “You’re sitting on a little corner of a stair, eating next to a dog that’s trying to eat off your plate.” (Banjo, perhaps?)
“People always ask what’s it like to grow up as a Kennedy,” Kennedy said in the interview. “It’s a family. It’s big, it’s large, it’s amazing. You’ve got strong personalities with strong opinions. And we’ll come out differently on some of those opinions.”
Read Viser’s full article over at Town & Country.