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Joseph P. Kennedy II

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Title: Joseph P. Kennedy II  
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Subject: Joseph P. Kennedy III, Robert F. Kennedy, Ethel Kennedy, Kennedy family, Mike Capuano
Collection: 1952 Births, American People of Dutch Descent, American People of Irish Descent, American Roman Catholics, Businesspeople from Boston, Massachusetts, Businesspeople from Massachusetts, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Irish Diaspora Politicians, Kennedy Family, Living People, Massachusetts Democrats, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts, People from Boston, Massachusetts, Politicians from Boston, Massachusetts, Robert F. Kennedy, University of Massachusetts Boston Alumni
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Joseph P. Kennedy II

Joseph Kennedy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 8th district
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1999
Preceded by Tip O'Neill
Succeeded by Mike Capuano
Personal details
Born Joseph Patrick Kennedy II
(1952-09-24) September 24, 1952
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Sheila Brewster Rauch
(m. 1979–1991; divorced)
Anne Elizabeth Kelly
(m. 1993–present)
Children Matthew Rauch Kennedy
Joseph Patrick Kennedy
Parents Robert Francis Kennedy
Ethel Skakel
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley
University of Massachusetts, Boston (B.A.)
Religion Roman Catholicism

Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy II (born September 24, 1952) is an American businessman, Democratic politician, and a member of the Kennedy family.

He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the 8th congressional district of Massachusetts from 1987 to 1999. In 1979 he founded and, until election to the U.S. House, led Citizens Energy Corporation, a non-profit energy company; since 1999 he has continued to lead Citizens Energy.

He is the eldest son of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy as well as the eldest grandson of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Kennedy.


  • Early life, education, and early business career 1
  • U.S. House of Representatives (1986–1999) 2
    • Elections 2.1
    • Tenure 2.2
    • Committee assignments 2.3
  • Citizens Energy (since 1999) 3
    • Overview 3.1
    • Public policy 3.2
    • Venezuela 3.3
  • Later political considerations 4
    • 1998 governor election 4.1
    • 2010 U.S. Senate election 4.2
  • Personal life 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life, education, and early business career

Kennedy was born in Brighton, a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, to Robert Francis Kennedy and Ethel Skakel, the second of their 11 children.[1] He was named after his grandfather Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., the patriarch of the Kennedy family.[1] He had a troubled youth, and was expelled from several private schools as a result of his quick temper. He regularly got into fights with his younger brothers and male cousins.[1] A restless, impulsive teenager, he left the Milton Academy, a private, college preparatory school, in Milton, Massachusetts, before graduating from the Manter Hall School—also a private, college-preparatory school—in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1971.[3][4]

Kennedy attended the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California, during 1972, but dropped out.[5] After this he worked for several months as part of a federally funded program to combat and treat tuberculosis in the African American community in San Francisco, California.[5] San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto personally praised Kennedy's work in the community.[5] Kennedy resigned from his position in the program, and returned to Massachusetts in the summer of 1973.[5]

On February 22, 1972, Kennedy was on Lufthansa Flight 649 when it was hijacked. Shortly after the inflight movie began during the 747's flight from New Delhi to Athens, five gunmen seized the jet and forced it to land at Aden International Airport, where all hostages were released on the following day.[6][7]

In August 1973, a Jeep he was driving overturned, fracturing one of his brother David Kennedy's vertebrae, and permanently paralyzing David's girlfriend, Pam Kelley.[8] The police cited Kennedy with reckless driving and the judge temporarily suspended his driver's license.[1][8] The Kennedy family paid for Kelley’s initial medical treatment and her continued care during the years following the accident.[9]

Kennedy returned to school after the accident, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1976.[10]

In 1979, Kennedy founded Citizens Energy, a heating oil to low-income families. (See Citizens Energy (since 1979) section below.)

U.S. House of Representatives (1986–1999)


In 1986, incumbent Democrat and Mel King. However, Kennedy garnered endorsements from The Boston Globe and the retiring O'Neill. Kennedy won the primary with 53%.[11] He won the general election with 72% of the vote.[12] He won re-election in 1988 (80%), 1990 (72%), 1992 (83%), 1994 (99%), and 1996 (84%).[13]


Kennedy's legislative efforts in U.S. House of Representatives included:[14]

  • Expanding the availability of credit to working Americans to buy homes and to open businesses.[15]
  • Requiring public disclosure of bank-lending practices in poorer neighborhoods and disclosure of bank home-mortgage approvals and refusals by race, sex, and income.[16] Subsequent Federal Reserve Board studies based on these newly required disclosures found widespread evidence of discriminatory-loan practices. One study found that white borrowers in the lowest-income category were approved for mortgages more than African American borrowers in the highest-income category. Data from Boston; Chicago, Illinois; and Minneapolis, Minnesota, found that African Americans were turned down at three times the rate of whites.[17]
  • Helping create hundreds of thousands of new affordable-housing units nationwide by introducing tax credits to stimulate private investment in neighborhood housing developments after federal housing assistance had been cut by seventy-five percent during the 1980s.[18]
  • Chairing the House Banking Subcommittee on Consumer Credit and Insurance and holding the first U.S. congressional hearings to expose the lack of access to insurance in low-income neighborhoods.[19]
  • Proposing a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution as a vehicle to end skyrocketing deficits, reduce interest rates, and free up investment capital for business growth rather than government bonds[20] while fighting to end corporate tax breaks and subsidies.[21]
  • Overhauling federal public-housing law for the first time in almost sixty years, giving local housing authorities the ability to raise standards while protecting those who depend on public housing for shelter.[22]
  • Co-chairing the U.S. Congressional Biotechnology Caucus and proposing to preserve and expand federal research and development accounts that stimulate the creation of new technologies and build the foundation for new jobs and business growth.[23]
  • Proposing the "Mom and Pop Protection Act" to help corner-store owners to install safety equipment[24] and a "National Stalker Reduction Act" to require all states to enact comprehensive anti-stalking legislation, track stalkers, and establish a national domestic-violence database to track violations of civil-protection orders.[25][26]
  • Protecting kids from alcohol by proposing to limit television advertising of beer and wine between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and to keep outdoor alcohol advertisements away from schools.[27]
  • Launching a bipartisan initiative in Massachusetts to fight child hunger which helped lead to an expansion of school breakfast and lunch programs.[28]

In 1991, Kennedy boycotted a speech to the U.S. Congress by the United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth II "in protest to the British occupation in northern Ireland".[29]

In March 1998, following a year of family troubles that included the [31] in the midst of Congressional debate regarding the proposed articles of impeachment of President Bill Clinton.[32]

Committee assignments

Throughout his career in the U.S. House, Kennedy served on the House Banking Committee, where he played an active role in the federal saving-and-loan bailout, credit-reporting reform, the overhaul of The Glass–Steagall Act of 1933 and financial modernization. Kennedy also served on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, passing legislation to strengthen the veterans' health-care system, to investigate the causes of Gulf War syndrome, and to provide medical treatment for veterans of the first Persian Gulf War.

Citizens Energy (since 1999)


After leaving the U.S. House, Kennedy returned to Citizens Energy. (During Kennedy's terms in the U.S. House, it had been run by his brother Michael.) Citizens Energy pursues commercial ventures aimed at generating revenues that, in turn, are used to generate funds that could assist those in need in the U.S. and abroad.[33] It grew to encompass seven separate companies, including one of the largest energy-conservation firms in the U.S. Citizens Energy became one of the U.S.'s first energy firms to move large volumes of natural gas to more than thirty states.[34] As a precursor to market changes under electricity deregulation in the late 1990s, Citizens Energy was a pioneer in moving and marketing electrical power over the power grid.[35][36]

Public policy

Citizens Energy has provided affordable heating oil to low-income families in the Northeastern U.S. since 1979. These charitable efforts were funded largely from profitable commercial ventures and donations.[37]

Since returning to Citizens Energy, Kennedy also has sought to influence energy-related public policy, challenging the Bush Administration to invest in energy conservation and efficiency and renewable energy,[38] encouraging Congress to fully fund federal heating assistance programs,[39] proposing that oil-consuming countries work together to balance oil prices against

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Tip O'Neill
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
Mike Capuano

External links

  1. ^ a b c Heymann, Clemens D. (2007). American Legacy: The Story of John and Caroline Kennedy.  
  2. ^ "Names & Faces: That's Joseph Kennedy II".  
  3. ^ Osborne, David (April 1985). "Joe Kennedy Makes a Name for Himself". Mother Jones. p. 20.
  4. ^ De Los Reyes, Gaston (1993-11-13). "Manter School Endures".  
  5. ^ a b c d Oppenheimer, Jerry. The Other Mrs. Kennedy. p. 578. St. Martin's Paperbacks, 1995.
  6. ^ "RFK's Son Freed by Hijackers", Oakland Tribune, Feb. 22, 1972; "$5 Million Paid to Jet Hijackers", Tribune, Feb. 25, 1972
  7. ^ "On This Day—23 February1972: Hijackers surrender and free Lufthansa crew".  
  8. ^ a b Canellos, Peter S. Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy. p. 194. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009
  9. ^ Taraborrelli , J. Randy. Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot, p. 423. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2000
  10. ^ Walker, P. Wayne. 1997 Congressional Staff Directory (49th Edition), p. 111. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Books, June 1997
  11. ^ "MA District 8 - D Primary Race - Sep 16, 1986". September 16, 1986. 
  12. ^ "MA District 8 - D Primary Race - Nov 04, 1986". November 4, 1986. 
  13. ^ "Candidate - Joseph P. Kennedy". 
  14. ^ "Executive Biography". 
  15. ^ Dober, Patrick; Callahan, Tom (1998-11-08). "Joe Kennedy's Home Run Against Bias". The Boston Globe.
  16. ^ Turner, Robert L. (1989-07-02). "Joe Kennedy: the Happy Warrior". The Boston Globe. p. A45.
  17. ^ Harrington, Walt (1993-06-06). "Settling In". The Washington Post (magazine section). p. 32.
  18. ^ Op-ed essay. Flynn, Raymond L.; Kennedy II, Joseph P. (1988-01-25). "Decent, Affordable Housing for All". The New York Times.
  19. ^ Kurkjian, Stephen (1995-10-13), "U.S. Urged to Probe Business Insurers". The Boston Globe.
  20. ^ Keller, Jon (1995-02-05). "Joe Kennedy's Clear-Eyed View of How Things Are". The Boston Globe. p. 3.
  21. ^ Kennedy II, Joseph P. (1995-12-27). "Corporations Rake in Subsidies as Poor, Aged Suffer Cuts". The Boston Globe.
  22. ^ Pear, Robert (1998-05-10). "House Votes to Overhaul Housing for the Poor". The New York Times.
  23. ^ Kennedy II, Joseph P. (1998-02-02). "R&D, Engine of Our Growth". Boston Herald.
  24. ^ Black, Chris (1995-11-25). "Rep. Kennedy Acts to Protect Small Shops". The Boston Globe.
  25. ^ Sullivan, Paul (1993-01-30). "Kennedy Targets Stalking in New Bill". Boston Herald.
  26. ^ Kennedy II, Joseph P. (1993-04-25). "It's Time to Give the Courts Legal Tools to Put Stalkers Away". Boston Herald.
  27. ^ "Rep. Kennedy Takes on Beer Ads". The Boston Globe. (May 17, 1996); "Celebrating Sobriety". The Boston Globe. (July 3, 1996).
  28. ^ Kennedy II, Joseph P. (1998-02-08). "Growing Up Hungry in a Time of Plenty". The Boston Globe. pp. C1-C2.
  29. ^ De Witt, Karen (1991-05-17). "Queen's Address to Congress Celebrates Mutual Respect".  
  30. ^ Goldberg, Carey (1998-03-14). "Joseph Kennedy 2d Will Quit Congress; Family Needs Cited".  
  31. ^ Miga, Andrew (1998-12-19). "Joe K's Final Speech on the House Floor Is His Finest". Boston Herald.
  32. ^ Meehan, Marty (1999-01-10). "Joe K Leaves Legacy of Morality". Boston Herald. p. 27.
  33. ^ Katz, Marisa (2001-01-15). "Heat Is On, Thanks to Joe". The Providence Journal.
  34. ^ Citizens Energy website, "Natural Gas: Our Experience"
  35. ^ Citizens Energy website, "Electricity Transmission: Our Experience"
  36. ^ Sheingold,, Barry J. "Power Marketing for the People". Public Power (January–February 1990), pp. 24–29.
  37. ^ Chapman, Fern Schumer (1994-07-23). "Joe Kennedy, The Poor Man's Oil Tycoon". Fortune. pp. 98–101.
  38. ^ Kennedy II, Joseph P. (2001-05-15). "Taking Steps Towards Energy Independence". The Boston Globe.
  39. ^ Catell, Robert B.; Kennedy II, Joseph P. (2006-10-02). "Congress: Turn Up the Heat". Newsday.
  40. ^ Kennedy II, Joseph P. (2001-04-18). "Organized Oil-Consuming Countries Could Offset OPEC". USA Today. p. A13.
  41. ^ Kennedy II, Joseph P. (2005-09-26). "Sharing the Oil Price Windfall". The Boston Globe.
  42. ^ Isabel Vincent, "RFK son is broken up over Chavez death", New York Post, Mar. 2013.
  43. ^ Citizen Audit, IRS Form 990, Citizens Energy Corporation, 2012.
  44. ^ Editorial (2006-11-28). Dial Joe-4-Chávez, The Wall Street Journal. Accessed 2009-08-27.
  45. ^ Tom Phillips, “Hugo Chavez says Obama is ‘a clown and an embarrassment’”, The Guardian, 20 Dec. 2011.
  46. ^ Howard LaFranchi, “Hugo Chavez era ends: Will US-Venezuela relations improve?”, Christian Science Monitor, 5 March 2013.
  47. ^ Editorial (2007-02-19). "Rhetoric Fails to Help Poor". The Daily News Tribune.
  48. ^ Walker, Adrian. (2005-11-24). "Oil Deal Is Her Lifeline". The Boston Globe.
  49. ^ Kennedy, Joseph P. "Yes, oil from Venezuela". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 24, 2006. 
  50. ^ Rezendes, Michael; Bierman, Noah (2009-09-06). "As Joe Kennedy Considers Run, Chavez Ties Loom". The Boston Globe. p. 1.
  51. ^ Harden, Blaine (1997-08-29). "Joseph Kennedy Ends Gubernatorial Bid".  
  52. ^ Another Senator Kennedy in Massachusetts?
  53. ^ "Former Rep. Joseph Kennedy Nixes Senate Campaign". via   (website registration required)
  54. ^ "R. Stewart Rauch, Jr." (PDF). Retrieved December 4, 2002. 
  55. ^ Taraborrelli, J. Randy (2012). After Camelot: A Personal History of the Kennedy Family--1968 to the Present. Hachette Digital, Inc. 
  56. ^ American Experience | The Kennedys | Kennedy Family Tree | PBS
  57. ^ a b Lawson, Carol (1997-04-24). "Seeking to Annul the Annulment".  
  58. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Retrieved 2009-08-30. 
  59. ^ a b Kennedy, Sheila Rauch (1998). Shattered Faith: A Woman's Struggle to Stop the Catholic Church from Annulling Her Marriage.  
  60. ^ a b Israel, Jeff (2007-06-19). "Joe Kennedy's First Marriage: Still On".  
  61. ^  
  62. ^ a b "Code of Canon Law – Canon 1444". Retrieved 2009-09-03. 


  1. ^ Some early sources misidentified him as Joseph P. Kennedy III, assuming he was named for his uncle Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., rather than his grandfather. He clarified the issue during his run for Congress.[2]


See also

As the first decision was never confirmed, there was no time at which the Church declared the marriage to be null or gave Kennedy permission to remarry. Because the Rota was sitting as a second-instance appellate court,[62] Kennedy could appeal the decision to another Rotal panel.[60][62]

The original decision was overturned by the highest appellate tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church, the Roman Rota, in 2005. Rauch was not informed of the decision by the Boston Archdiocese until 2007.[61]

The Boston Archdiocese initially granted Kennedy the annulment, which was discovered by Rauch only after the decision in 1996.[57] Sheila, who is an Episcopalian, wrote a book Shattered Faith: A Woman's Struggle to Stop the Catholic Church from Annulling Her Marriage,[59] explaining that she was opposed to the concept of annulment because it meant in Roman Catholic theology that the marriage had never actually existed, and claiming that the Kennedy family influence made it possible to unilaterally "cancel" a 12-year marriage. A tribunal decision in favor of annulment is automatically appealed, and the decision is not effective until a second, conforming, sentence is granted. Instead of allowing the appeal to take place in the United States, Rauch appealed directly to the Holy See.[60]

In 1993, Kennedy asked the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston for an annulment of the marriage, feeling he was mentally incapable of entering into marriage at the time of his wedding. An annulment would give the marriage the status of never having existed and allow Kennedy to marry Anne Elizabeth "Beth" Kelly (born April 3, 1957)[56]—his former staff member—in a Roman Catholic ceremony, as well as allow him to participate in other sacraments of the church, such as Holy Communion, not available to a divorced person who remarries.[57][58] Rauch refused to agree to the annulment,[59] and Kennedy married Beth in a non-Catholic civil ceremony on October 23, 1993.

On February 3, 1979, Kennedy married Sheila Brewster Rauch (born March 22, 1949), a daughter of banker Rudolph Stewart "Stew" Rauch, Jr.,[54] president then chairman of the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society, and Frances Stuart Brewster. On October 4, 1980, the couple had twin sons, Matthew Rauch "Matt" Kennedy and Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy. They were legally divorced in 1991.[55]

Personal life

With the death of his uncle U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy on August 25, 2009, Kennedy's name had been mentioned as a possible candidate for his uncle's seat representing Massachusetts in the United States Senate. In an Associated Press article, Democratic strategist Dan Payne said, "He wouldn't be human and he wouldn't be a Kennedy if he didn't give serious consideration to running for what is known as the 'Kennedy seat' in Massachusetts."[52] However, Kennedy released a statement on September 7 explaining that he would not pursue the seat.[53] The seat eventually went by appointment to Paul G. Kirk, and later by election to Republican Scott Brown.

2010 U.S. Senate election

Kennedy considered running for the Massachusetts governorship in 1998 but, citing family difficulties, he did not.[51]

1998 governor election

Later political considerations

In 2009, it was reported that in the previous two years, Citgo donated 83 million gallons of oil, which was used to provide heating assistance to an estimated 200,000 families a year in 23 states.[50]

[49] Beginning in 2005,



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