Rep. Joe Kennedy will get the biggest national exposure of his career when he gives the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
Democratic Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer picked a young, fresh face to represent the party in prime time. They also picked a lawmaker from a deep blue state who has a long history of advocating for social and economic issues.
The choice is an indication the party is looking to play to its newly re-energized base in the wake of Trump’s election instead of throwing flames at the president.
Plus there is that famous last name.
Some fun facts about the 37 year old: his full name is Joseph Patrick Kennedy III and, in the Kennedy family canon, he is the grandson of Attorney General Robert Kennedy. He is the great nephew of Sen. Ted Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy. He also has a twin brother, Matthew.
Kennedy did his under grad degree at Sanford University, where one of his roommates was future NBA star Jason Collins, who said Kennedy inspired him to come out as gay.
He attended law school at Harvard and one of his professors is now-Sen. Elizabeth Warren. He was a prosecutor before he ran for retiring Rep. Barney Frank’s House seat in 2012.
He garnered national attention last year when a video of him defending Obamacare went viral. In a markup of Republican efforts to repeal the healthcare legislation, Kennedy, in response to Speaker Paul Ryan calling repeal an “act of mercy,” fired back that it was “an act of malice.”
He is married to Lauren Birchfield Kenned and they live with their children, Eleanor and James, in Newton, Mass.