News Rep. Joseph Kennedy III will deliver Democrats' official response to the president's State of the Union Address has thrust the younger member of one of America's most prominent political families into the spotlight. While you may not recognize the Massachusetts legislator's face, you've undoubtedly recognized his famous surname. Kennedy is the grandson of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and a great-nephew of both the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy. But does Kennedy have children of his own? With a recent birth, the legislator now has two children under the age of three.
Kennedy's wife Lauren gave birth to a son on Dec. 20, almost exactly two years after the couple had welcomed their first child, a little girl. "Meet James Matthew Kennedy," the Congressional representative said in a tweet posted Dec. 20 along with a picture of the sleeping newborn. "Born early this morning and doing great... We are exhausted, over the moon and deeply grateful!" The couple's first child, Eleanor "Ellie" Kennedy, was born Dec. 29, 2015.
In announcing James' arrival, Kennedy said the newborn was doing well and already being spoiled with gifts. "First gift he received was (appropriately) a Patriots jersey from Grandpa Joe," the representative tweeted. But it's safe to say James' sister also has a cool shirt. Kennedy had announced his wife's pregnancy on Facebook in June of 2017 using a photo of young Ellie wearing a shirt bearing the words "Big Sister." "This is the smile of a girl who is going to become a big sister," Kennedy wrote in a caption to the photo.
In advocating for a full reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Kennedy has touched on how being a parent has made him, like every other parent, more vulnerable to fear. "Few monsters terrify a parent more than illness, particularly when our children are young and small of body," Kennedy and his wife wrote in a joint op-ed published by Cosmopolitan magazine earlier this month.
"No family should have to worry that welcoming a newborn safely into this world could force a missed mortgage payment or come at the expense of putting food on the table," they wrote. "No parents should lose sleep because their child's co-pays, prescription medications, primary-care visits, behavioral-health specialists, hospital stays, or other health care services would decimate the family budget if affordable health insurance wasn’t available through CHIP."
This isn't the first time Kennedy has spoken out about a health care issue. The representative tore into Republicans' American Health Care Act earlier this year during a House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting, specifically calling out House Speaker Paul Ryan for billing the legislation as an "act of mercy."
"There is no mercy in a system that makes health care a luxury," Kennedy said. "There is no mercy in a country that turns their back on those most in need of protection: the elderly, the poor, the sick, and the suffering... This is not an act of mercy. It is an act of malice."
While in office, Kennedy has also used his family's personal history to advocate for immigrants.
In naming Kennedy as the party's choice to deliver its rebuttal of the president's State of the Union, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi hailed him as "a relentless fighter for working Americans." She went on to say Kennedy's leadership had been "vital in educating a next-generation workforce, in creating good-paying manufacturing jobs, and in expanding opportunities for the middle class."
President Trump will deliver his State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday evening. Kennedy is expected to deliver Democrats' response shortly after.