PATRICK JOSEPH KENNEDY
July 14, 1967
”No one is immune from addiction; it afflicts people of all ages, races, classes, and professions. ”
Patrick Joseph Kennedy II is the former U.S. Representative for Rhode Island’s 1st congressional district, serving from 1995 until 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes all of Bristol County and Newport County, and parts of Providence County. Kennedy did not seek re-election in 2010.
He was born in 1967 to Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy and Virginia Joan Bennett in Brighton, Massachusetts, the third of three children, after Kara Anne Kennedy (1960—2011) and Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy, Jr. (born 1961). Patrick was named after his patrilineal great-grandfather, politician Patrick Joseph “P. J.” Kennedy.
Rhode Island House of Representatives
Kennedy became the youngest member of the Kennedy family to hold elected office when, in 1988, he won election to the Rhode Island House of Representatives at age 21. He served two terms in the House serving District 9 in Providence, Rhode Island, choosing not to run for a third term. He was succeeded by Anastasia P. Williams.
Capitol Hill intoxicated-driving accident
On May 4, 2006, Kennedy crashed his automobile into a barricade on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., at 2:45 a.m. A Capitol Police official said the congressman had appeared intoxicated when he crashed his car, but Kennedy claimed that he was merely disoriented from prescription medications Ambien and Phenergan. Anonymous sources are alleged to have seen Kennedy drinking at the nearby Hawk & Dove bar prior to the accident. Kennedy also stated to officers that he was “late for a vote”. However, the last vote of the night had occurred almost six hours earlier. The standard field sobriety test was not administered, and Kennedy was driven home by an officer.
On May 5, 2006, Kennedy admitted that he had an addiction to prescription medication and announced he would be re-admitting himself to a drug-rehabilitation facility at the Mayo Clinic inMinnesota where he has sought treatment for prior addictions. He has stated that he has no recollection of the car crash. On May 8, 2006, Kennedy got a show of support when he was endorsed by the Rhode Island Democratic Party. On June 5, 2006, Kennedy was released from drug rehabilitation.
On June 13, 2006, Kennedy made a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence of prescription drugs. He was sentenced to one-year probation and a fine of $350. Two of the three charges (reckless driving and failure to exhibit a driving permit) were dismissed. He was also ordered to attend a rehabilitation program that includes weekly urine tests, twice-weekly meetings with a probation officer, near-daily Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and a weekly meeting of recovering addicts.
On Friday, June 12, 2009, Kennedy again announced that he has “checked into a medical facility for treatment”. In a statement to the press, Kennedy said that his recovery is a “lifelong process” and that he will do whatever it takes to preserve his health. “I have decided to temporarily step away from my normal routine to ensure that I am being as vigilant as possible in my recovery,” Kennedy said.
Private life and family
He resides in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Kennedy announced his engagement to sixth-grade history teacher Amy Savell (daughter of Jerry and Leni Savell) on March 28, 2011. Amy has a daughter, Harper Petitgout, from her previous marriage to Mark Petitgout. They married on July 15, 2011 in Hyannis Port, Massachusettsand have a son named Owen Patrick Kennedy, born on April 15, 2012.
His father, Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, died on August 25, 2009. Patrick made a tearful eulogy at the funeral, saying that “He [Ted] would be very proud to see you all out here today paying a final respect and tribute to his memory”. He further elaborated on his experiences with his father as a child, saying his father would stay at his bedside during his frequent bouts of ill health.
Patrick suffers from bipolar disorder.
When Kennedy decided not to run for reelection in 2010, he cited his decision on the fact that his life “has taken a new direction”. Mark Weiner, a major Democratic fundraiser in Rhode Island and one of Kennedy’s top financial backers, said “It’s tough to get up and go to work every day when your partner is not there, I think he just had a broken heart after his father passed away.”