For someone who was relatively unknown until a couple years ago despite serving his third term in the House, Rep. Joe Kennedy III is now talked about practically everywhere in Democratic circles. He’s delivering the Democrats’ official response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union tonight. But now that he’s rocketing up in the spotlight, is there any chance that he could be running for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2020? He’s laughing at the idea, but others are whispering about the possibility. Here’s what you need to know.
Kennedy’s not currently considering a run for President, according to Mass Live. A reporter asked him about an article that called him the “next President Kennedy.” He denied any interest in running. Kennedy said: “The headline caught me by surprise and I caught an awful lot of flack from friends, family and anybody I know. So, no plans on that, thanks very much.” Kennedy reiterated the same to the Boston Globe and said he was just focusing on his current job. “I don’t give a whole lot of thought or credence to questions about what comes on next, what goes on next. My life is busy enough at the moment that I don’t even really know where I’m having lunch today.”
This isn’t the first time he’s denied interest in running for any other position. He was mentioned as a possibility for Massachusetts governor in 2018, but declined and said he had no plans to run for another office. But in 2016, when Sen. Warren was being considered for Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Kennedy was possibly interested in her position. But that wasn’t meant to be.
When announcing the choice of having Kennedy deliver the Democrats’ response, Nancy Pelosi said that Kennedy is a “relentless fighter for working Americans.” Kennedy graduated from Harvard Law School, but while studying for his law degree, he joined the Peace Corps and worked in the Dominican Republic. While there, he created a union so tour guides could earn higher wages. He has also worked for a pro-bono Boston law firm, focusing on helping families who were facing foreclosures.
Many of Kennedy’s positions align with Democrat platforms, but not everything. Kennedy is against marijuana legalization, for example. Marijuana Moment reported that in 2015, JK3 (as he’s sometimes called) was one of 10 House Democrats to vote against a measure that would protect medical cannabis patients and providers from being prosecuted by the federal government. He has said that if marijuana were to be legalized as a medication, it should be regulated as a medication too.
Kennedy supports the Affordable Care Act, but isn’t quite as sure about single-payer bills. He says he supports single-payer in theory, but wasn’t sure about certain details in Coyners’ recent bill, for example. Kennedy was also a big supporter of Hillary Clinton in 2016.