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More Joe Kennedy news coverage: Needham Times, Sun Chronicle

Joe Kennedy’s website:

Previous IPR coverage: Martha Coakley, Scott Brown, Joseph Kennedy agree to series of debates in race for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat

Rich Rubino at Politics DMZ: ‘Yes, Joe Kennedy can win the Massachusetts U.S. Senate Race’

Boston Globe: ‘This Kennedy wants to cut government’

Earlier Coverage

John Hilliard in The Needham Times reports:

U.S. Senate candidate Kennedy: ‘Heck of a lot closer to an average person’

Needham —

Libertarian candidate Joseph Lewis Kennedy — no relation to the famed political clan —says he offers a fiscally conservative, socially accepting alternative to the two major party candidates vying for the state’s vacant Senate seat.

“Somebody has do it. If I didn’t do it, we’d be stuck with a government that would increase spending. Both candidates are pro-spending, both candidates are pro-health care in some kind of government-run (form),” said Kennedy during a meeting with GateHouse editors on Thursday.

Kennedy, 38, is currently vice president of architecture & user experience at the financial giant State Street in Boston. He said his work experience includes managing staff in the U.S., China, India and Europe, and that he knows how to build an efficient office, which he can apply to government.

According to his campaign website, the Dedham resident was born in Boston to a Puerto Rican mother and Portuguese father, then given up for adoption, and raised by the senior minister of Trinity Lutheran Church in Worcester. He graduated with a computer science degree from Clark University, his site says.

Kennedy is running against Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat residing in Medford, and Republican State Senator Scott Brown of Wrentham. The special election is set for Jan. 19.

Kennedy has raised about $11,000 and has about 170 volunteers with varying degrees of involvement in his campaign, he said.

“I’m an ordinary person. I sit in a cube… any single day of the week, my boss can come into my office and he can fire me,” said Kennedy, who drew a contrast with his two main rivals.

“When you talk about the average person, I’m a heck of a lot closer to an average person than an attorney general or state senator,” said Kennedy, who said he’d serve for only two terms if elected.

Kennedy said he’d work to reduce taxes, earmarks and spending as ways to free up more money here in Massachusetts. He said the state is a “loser” when it comes to federal aid: He said the Bay State gets 80 cents back on every dollar collected by the federal government.
“The priority I have in going into government is to eliminate as much pork as there is from the entire the system,” said Kennedy.

Though a Libertarian, Kennedy said he’d caucus with the Republicans if elected to the Senate.
He opposes a federally-backed health insurance plan, calling it “inappropriate and irresponsible” to expand coverage before costs are reduced. He supported tort reform, eliminating the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies and other steps to reduce the expense of medical care.

“The big issue is neither the Massachusetts legislature or the federal government has taken the time, in any way shape or form, to address cost (for health care),” he said.

He called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme,” because there’s no money budgeted for it, other than what’s paid into the system. He supported an increase in the retirement age and the option for people to drop out of the system to privately fund their own retirements, he said.
“You have to give people the opportunity to be responsible” for themselves, said Kennedy.

He said people who need medical care can go to an emergency room, and prohibitive emergency room bills for the uninsured can be reduced by addressing medical costs. Tax cuts would also allow for more support to charitable organizations that would offer aid.

“People neglect that. People ignore the fact that these people are cared for” via emergency room care, he said.

Kennedy called himself a “pro-peace guy,” and would pull back most troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, and focus on Pakistan, he said.

“We can’t be all over the world being the police,” he said.

Kennedy said that efforts to cap carbon dioxide emissions don’t affect other contributors to global warming, such as water vapor and methane, he said. He’s concerned about published reports that some of the data supporting the extent of global warming has been falsified by some climate researchers.

“What we’re putting into place… doesn’t address or cap it, all it does is tax it,” said Kennedy of carbon emission reductions.

The candidate said he wouldn’t have run if former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy chose to run for Senate because their similar names could confuse voters. The Libertarian Kennedy also said his father is friends with the Kennedy family, and didn’t want to upset that relationship in case the former congressman ran a campaign.

It’s unclear what level of support Massachusetts voters have for a Libertarian senatorial candidate.

In 2002, Libertarian Michael Cloud collected 369,807 votes against Sen. John Kerry, but Libertarians didn’t mount a campaign against Sen. Ted Kennedy four years later. The last Libertarian candidate to run for senate — Robert J. Underwood of Springfield — earned 93,713 votes in 2008 against Sen. John Kerry. By comparison, Republican challenger Jeff Beatty collected 926,044 votes that year.

and Jim Hand writes in the Sun Chronicle:

Kennedy with a difference

Libertarian candidate says freedom is at issue
Joseph Kennedy says he is running for U.S. Senate because neither the Republican nor the Democrat in the race truly respects individual freedom.

Kennedy, who is not related to the famous Kennedy political clan, said he is in the race to give voters a true choice in the Jan. 19 special election for the seat once held by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

The Libertarian from Dedham said health care is a perfect example of how he is the only candidate in the race who is for limited government and personal liberty.

His Democratic opponent, state Attorney General Martha Coakley, supports a national health care bill that would require people to buy health insurance and fine them if they fail to obey, he said.

The Republican in the race, state Sen. Scott Brown, voted for “Romneycare” which required every Massachusetts resident to buy health insurance or be subject to a fine, he said. “Both are invasion of individual liberty,” he said.

Kennedy said Massachusetts has some of the highest health insurance premiums in the country because of the universal health insurance bill supported by Brown, R-Wrentham.

The federal bill backed by Coakley would do the same thing for the entire country, he said.

Kennedy said his solution to the high cost of health care would to end the federal anti-trust exemption insurance companies enjoy so they would have to start competing with each other for customers.

A vice president of information technology at State Street Corp., Kennedy said he is for smaller government, lower taxes and less government spending.

He said he is the only candidate in the race who supported an elimination of the state income tax when it was on the ballot in 2006.

The elimination of the Federal Reserve Bank, withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, elimination of the federal Education Department and promoting adoption over abortion are other issues he said he wants to bring before the voters.

Adoption is an issue that is important to him, he said, because he was adopted.

Kennedy said he is not trying to trade in on his name or any confusion voters might have about whether he is related to Edward Kennedy or his nephew Joe Kennedy, who served in Congress.

In fact, he said, the first item he put on his web site was a disclaimer making it clear he was not related. “We have done everything we can to make sure there is no confusion,” he said.

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  1. The Inquirer The Inquirer December 21, 2009

    Mik and Darcy are correct.

  2. Darcy G Richardson Darcy G Richardson December 21, 2009

    I agree with Mik that Joseph Kennedy should have held off on announcing which party he would caucus with, if either — especially in heavily-Democratic Massachusetts.

    In 1910, when Wisconsin’s Victor L. Berger became the first Socialist in American history elected to Congress, he proudly refused to caucus with either party, but nevertheless landed a committee assignment when the majority Democrats gave him one of the committee seats reserved for the Republicans.

    Berger was eventually elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on six occasions, but was prevented from taking his seat between 1919 and 1922 because he had been charged with conspiracy and disloyalty under the Espionage Act for writing antiwar speeches during World War I.

    Years later, the fiercely-independent Wisconsin lawmaker castigated the handful of progressive Republican congressmen who had supported “Fighting Bob” La Follette’s insurgent presidential campaign in 1924 for crawling back to the GOP caucus shortly after that election.

    “Any man who claims to be a Progressive, who claims to stand for reform, ought to be willing to pay the price,” he declared from the House floor. “If not, then he is a weakling.” The political price La Follette’s supporters, which included Berger and the Socialist Party, was “so insignificant,” he said, “as to be almost ridiculous — the loss of position on committees.”

  3. Mik Robertson Mik Robertson December 21, 2009

    Maybe he should hold off on announcing who he would caucus with and see who offers a better deal.

  4. paulie paulie December 21, 2009

    Ah, I guess that’s why Joe said he would caucus with the Republicans. Makes sense now.

  5. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp December 21, 2009


    The Constitution provides for each house of Congress to determine the rules of its proceedings, select its officers, etc. The caucus system and distribution of committee seats, etc. is an internal system that’s evolved over time and that can be changed at the will of the body.

    So, in effect, the majority will determine whether a third party member or caucus gets to appoint to committees, etc. It’s a pretty good bet that a single third party or independent electee, or a small group of them, without close connections to one of the major parties will get the boiler room at Rayburn for an office and no committee assignments.

  6. paulie paulie December 21, 2009

    Is there a minimum number? Can one person be a caucus? How does that affect the committee assignments? Anyone know?

  7. Darcy G Richardson Darcy G Richardson December 21, 2009

    Historically, when a third party has elected numerous members of the U.S. House or Senate they have formed their own caucus. In 1913, for example, 19 members of the U.S. House of Representatives joined the Progressive caucus, including two prominent Republicans — Charles Lindbergh, Sr., of Minnesota and Ira Copley of Illinois. When a third party organizes in either the House or Senate, members of the two major parties have historically been free join that caucus…a highly unlikely event, but it has happened on occasion.

  8. paulie paulie December 20, 2009

    @2 good eye, Andy is correct.

    @1 he is both a Libertarian (LP national member, LP state commitee member) and an independent (unenrolled voter, therefore by law on the ballot as an independent).

    Regarding the caucusing issue, does anyone here know what would happen if Joe got elected and wanted to be his own caucus? Could he then be a Minority Leader with the status of the other Minority Leader and the ability to be a Ranking Minority Member on committees? Who would be in charge of his committee appointments…himself? Does it take a certain number of Senators to form a minority caucus? What if some party elected, say, two or five Senators?

  9. Morgan Brykein // Dec 19, 2009: “Though a Libertarian, Kennedy said he’d caucus with the Republicans if elected to the Senate.”
    —— 1) He’s an independent.
    —— 2) AHHH IT BURNS.

    Lake: Is this a 21st Century example of Political Venereal Deciese ??????

  10. Andy Andy December 20, 2009

    “He said he is the only candidate in the race who supported an elimination of the state income tax when it was on the ballot in 2006.”

    End the State Income Tax was on the ballot in Massachusetts in 2002 and in 2008, not in 2006.

  11. Morgan Brykein Morgan Brykein December 19, 2009

    “Though a Libertarian, Kennedy said he’d caucus with the Republicans if elected to the Senate.”

    1) He’s an independent.

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