U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III formally declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Saturday morning, becoming the first member of the Kennedy political dynasty to bid for the upper chamber of Congress since Edward M. Kennedy in 1962.
The Massachusetts Democrat, 38, will challenge incumbent Edward Markey, 73, in the 2020 Democratic primary. Kennedy’s campaign was formally announced in an email before a kickoff event in East Boston, where the Kennedy clan first settled after arriving from Ireland well over a century ago, according to the Associated Press.
Kennedy launched his campaign with a video message. “Big news,” he wrote on Twitter. “I’m running for US Senate.”
Big news: I'm running for US Senate. This isn't a time for waiting, for sitting on the sidelines, or for playing by rules that don't work anymore. This is the fight of our lives, the fight of my generation — and I'm all in. I hope you'll join me at https://t.co/7zwvI9aujq pic.twitter.com/WVkNLwCJbg
— Joe Kennedy (@joekennedy) September 21, 2019
“Now is not the time for waiting, for sitting on the sidelines, for playing by rules that don’t work anymore and never worked to begin with,” Kennedy narrates. He touches on what it takes to break down an old system and build “something better.”
“A healthcare system of salvation, not scarcity; A just economy; Absolute civil rights; Humane immigration policy,” he continues in Spanish, “a justice system of equity, not oppression.”
On the climate crisis, Kennedy says it has to be tackled as a collective “so we have a planet that will survive for our kids and grandkids.”
He concludes with a message, “I’m running for Senate because this is the fight of our lives, and I’m all in.”
Kennedy is a grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, who was attorney general in his brother John F. Kennedy’s White House. He was a senator running for the Democratic presidential nomination when he was assassinated in 1968. Kennedy’s father, Joseph Kennedy, also served in Congress. Others elected to office include former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy II and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who served two terms as Maryland’s lieutenant governor, according to the AP.
In the wake of Kennedy’s announcement, Teamsters Local 25 endorsed Kennedy on behalf of its 12,500 members.
“The union unequivocally supports U.S. Senate run by a strong leader fighting for blue-collar workers,” Teamsters wrote in a press release. “Local 25 points to Congressman Kennedy’s record of fighting to protect and strengthen workers’ rights and his tireless work to increase wages for lower-and middle-income Americans among many reasons the 4-term Congressman should represent all Mass. workers by serving them in the U.S. Senate.”
Local 25 president Sean M. O’Brien added, “Since his election to Congress, Joe Kennedy has been a strong advocate for workers’ rights and protections.”
IBEW Local 103 also endorsed Kennedy’s campaign Saturday. Headquartered in Dorchester, the union represents more than 8,500 active members, and 2,500 retirees.
“This is about doing what’s best for the working people,” said IBEW Local 103 business manager and financial secretary Lou Antonellis.