Patrick Joseph Kennedy

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This is a profile of a former U.S. Representative. (See the Rhode Island portal for all incumbents, candidates and blogs.)
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Patrick Joseph Kennedy, a Democrat, has represented the First Congressional District of Rhode Island in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2011.


Record and controversies

Congressional scorecards

Click through the score to see the records of other members of Congress and full descriptions of the individual votes.

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Organization 2007 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
2008 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
American Civil Liberties Union not avail. not avail.
American Conservative Union 0 - 0/25 not avail.
AFSCME not avail. not avail.
Americans for Democratic Action 100 - 20/20 100 - 20/20
Club for Growth not avail. not avail.
Drum Major Institute not avail. not avail.
Family Research Council not avail. not avail.
Information Technology Industry Council not avail. not avail.
League of Conservation Voters not avail. not avail.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People not avail. not avail.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce 50 - 10/20 not avail.

Iraq War

Kennedy voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

Kennedy supports gradual decline in troop numbers and redeployment of troops to Afghanistan.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

Kennedy supports tougher legislation protecting the environment. He supports the Safe Climate Act to limit the ammount of global-warming causing pollutants allowed to be released. He also supports amending the Clean Air Act to toughen standards on Mercury emmisions to limit the ammount of Mercury found in fish. Kennedy also wants to cut funding for livestock protection programs that allow for traps to be set for predators of livestock but end up catching and killing endangered species. [2]

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Support for gun control

Kennedy cosponsored H.R. 1312 (Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2005) on April 21, 2005.[2]

He also cosponsored H.R. 1022 (Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization) on March 22, 2007.[3]

In addition, he cosponsored H.R. 3411 (Juvenile Crime Reduction Act). The act would allow juvenile offenders who suffer from mental illness or drug abuse to be transfered to treatment centers instead of detention facilities.

Main article: U.S. gun legislation

Abortion Rights

Kennedy received a score of 100 from NARAL, Pro Choice America in 2007.[3]

Kennedy supports the upholding of Roe v. Wade. He also opposes the gag rule which limits federal funding to overseas agencies that provide abortions. He supports allowing over the counter emergency contraception pills such as Plan B, and supports the Prevention First Act to provide education to women to reduce unwanted pregnancies.

Homeland Security

Kennedy introduced H.R. 1891, the Ready and Willing and Able Act which encourages cities to formulate disaster plans. [4]

Civil Rights

Kennedy voted for the Employment Non Discrimination Act, which made illegal discimination on the basis of sexual or gender orientation, whether actual or perceived.

Kennedy voted for the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Act in May 2007, which allowed federal assistance to local law enforcement agencies when dealing with hate crimes which may otherwise go unprosecuted.

Kennedy is the vice-chairman of the Congressional Native American Caucus, which works to advance the civil rights and protections of Native Americans, especially in the fields of education and health care.


Born July 14, 1967, Patrick J. Kennedy is the son of Ted Kennedy and Joan Bennett. Patrick Kennedy became the youngest member of his family to hold elected office in 1988, when he won election to the Rhode Island General Assembly at age 21.

Congressional career

Kennedy won his seat on the United States House of Representatives in November 1994.

In the House, "He authored the Foundations for Learning Act, which is designed to help young children develop emotional and social skills necessary for success later in life. He's also been a staunch advocate on gun-control and senior citizen issues. The lawmaker, who has admitted battling depression, also fights for mental health issues."[5]

From 1999-2001 he served a two-year term as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and raised about $97 million, "nearly triple the amount raised during the previous election cycle".[6]

Patrick Kennedy has twice considered running against Lincoln Chafee for the U.S. Senate, in 2000 and 2006.

2006 elections

In 2006, the Republicans nominated Lindsey String to face Kennedy in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [7] Kennedy retained his seat.

Personal problems

Circa 2000, Kennedy's ratings "slumped after reports he shoved an airport security guard, caused $28,000 in damage to a chartered yacht, and that a date had to be rescued from his boat by the Coast Guard after an argument".[8] In 1986, he was also hospitalized for cocaine addiction.[9]

Kennedy states, "I know having the Kennedy last name makes it easy for the media to make a lot of any mistakes that I make. I'm only human. I make and have made mistakes," he said. "But I'm trying to be a better person all the time. ... I've been made stronger as a result of what I've learned from those mistakes." Pundits predict Kennedy has moved past the controversy and "come into his own." [10]

On May 5, 2006, Kennedy announced that he will enter drug rehab at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for treatment of an addiction to prescription drugs. This came as a result of being cited with three violations after crashing his car into a security barrier near the US Capitol the day before. [11] After a four week stay at the Mayo clinic, Kennedy reached a plea deal on June 13,2006, with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and charges of reckless driving and driving without a permit were dropped. [12]

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. For specific controversies, see this article's record and controversies section.

Campaign contribution data could not be found.

Links to more campaign contribution information for Patrick Joseph Kennedy
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2008 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations


Committees in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

  • House Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Labor Health and Human Services Education and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Science State Justice and Commerce and Related Agencies

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Patrick Joseph Kennedy. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC office
  • 1027 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
    Ph: 202-225-4755 Fax: 202-225-4886
    Webform email
District offices
  • 249 Roosevelt Avenue, Suite 200, Pawtucket, RI 02860
    Ph: 401-729-5600 Fax: (none entered)
On the Web
Campaign office
  • No campaign website entered.
  • No campaign webform email entered.
  • No campaign office information entered.

Articles and Resources


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. Thomas page on H.R. 1312
  3. Thomas page on H.R. 1022


Local blogs and discussion sites


Semantic data (Edit data)