The Democrat Giving The SOTU Response Is One Of The Richest Lawmakers In Congress

by Chris Tognotti
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On Tuesday night, immediately following President Donald Trump's State of the Union address, Democrats throughout the country will get a good, long look at their party's response to the speech. It's going to be given by Massachusetts representative Joe Kennedy III, and if you haven't heard of just him, don't sweat it. But if that's the case, though, you might be thirsty for a few details about him ― for instance, maybe you're curious what Joe Kennedy's net worth is, and how it stacks up against his fellow representatives?

If the last name sounds familiar, well, it should. The 37-year-old lawmaker is indeed a member of the famed Kennedy political clan, the grandson of former senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, and the great-nephew of former president John F. Kennedy. That makes it pretty easy to understand why you might be wondering about where his net worth is at — the Kennedy family is famously wealthy, with a fortune that Forbes valued at more than $1 billion back in 2014.

As for Rep. Kennedy himself, his net worth is pegged by the Center For Responsive Politics as being slightly less than $43 million in 2016, though obviously, that's not an exact figure, and it's been more than a year since then. That figure, according to the center, is taken from personal financial disclosures Kennedy filed in 2017.

Within the halls of Congress, that's a pretty big number. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, his average net worth would place him as its 24th richest elected official (out of 585), and the 16th richest member of the House (out of more than 400). California Republican representative Darrel Issa, who is set to retire this year, is by far the wealthiest member of Congress, with an estimated net worth of more than $300 million.

By way of contrast, the poorest lawmaker in the country, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' data, is California Republican David Valadao. A dairy farmer by trade, Valadao currently has a maximum net worth of approximately negative $4 million, the result in part of multiple lines of credit required to operate his business. Based on reporting from the Los Angeles Times, however, it seems like he has a sense of humor about it, remarking that other lawmakers tease him and offer to take him out to lunch.

In short, as lawmakers go, Kennedy is pretty well-off. That shouldn't be particularly surprising given his widely known and wealthy family. But it is information you might not have otherwise known, because despite his famous name, Kennedy has maintained a somewhat low profile since being elected to the House in 2012.

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That's all about to change, however. The State of the Union response will without a doubt be the largest national audience Kennedy has ever addressed, which means it could be a springboard to a much more visible role within the Democratic party.

But giving the response isn't an easy job. Throughout the Obama administration, a number of the Republican responses went poorly, drawing a considerable amount of mockery and derision. But nonetheless, it's the kind of opportunity that any young House representative would likely leap at.

It won't be too much longer before the whole thing goes down, either. The State of the Union is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday night, and Kennedy's response will be taking place immediately after.