Joseph Kennedy III

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Joseph Kennedy III
Joe Kennedy III.jpg
U.S. House, Massachusetts, District 4
In office
January 3, 2013-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2017
Years in position 2
PredecessorBarney Frank (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
Cost per vote$8.85 in 2014
First electedNovember 6, 2012
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Campaign $$6,898,341
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sStanford University
J.D.Harvard Law School
Date of birthOct. 4, 1980
Place of birthBrighton, Massachusetts
Net worth(2012) $31,964,615
Office website
Campaign website
Joseph Kennedy III (b. October 4, 1980, in Brighton, MA) is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives representing Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District. Kennedy was first elected to the House on November 6, 2012.[1]

Kennedy won re-election in Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District in the general election on November 4, 2014.[2] He faced no opposition in the general election.

Prior to his congressional career, Kennedy served as District Attorney for Middlesex County.[3]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Kennedy is an average Democratic member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Democratic Party on the majority of bills.


Kennedy earned his bachelor's degree from Stanford University. Upon graduation, he went on to obtain his law degree from Harvard Law School, where he was a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. From 2004-2006, he served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, where he helped local residents establish control over the Rio Damajagua waterfall national park. He served several Massachusetts counties as Assistant District Attorney before he occupied the same position for Middlesex County.[3]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Kennedy's academic, professional and political career:[4]

  • 2013-Present: U.S. Representative from Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District
  • 2011-2012: Assistant District Attorney, Middlesex County
  • 2009: Graduated from Harvard University with a J.D.
  • 2004-2006: U.S. Peace Corps
  • 2003: Graduated from Stanford University with a B.S.

Committee assignments

U.S. House


Kennedy serves on the following committees:[5]


Kennedy served on the following committees:[6][7]

Key votes

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 114 out of the 3,036 introduced bills (3.8 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[8] For more information pertaining to Kennedy's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[9]

National security


Nay3.png Kennedy voted in opposition of HR 1960 - the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill passed the House on June 14, 2013, with a vote of 315 - 108. Both parties were somewhat divided on the vote.[10]

DHS Appropriations

Nay3.png Kennedy voted in opposition of HR 2217 - the DHS Appropriations Act of 2014. The bill passed the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 245 - 182 and was largely along party lines.[10]


Farm bill

Nay3.png On January 29, 2014, the U.S. House approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, known as the Farm Bill.[11] The bill passed by a vote of 251-166. The nearly 1,000-page bill provides for the reform and continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that would kick in when prices drop.[12][13] However, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states.[13] Kennedy voted with 102 other Democratic representatives against the bill.

2014 Budget

Yea3.png On January 15, 2014, the Republican-run House approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014.[14][15] The House voted 359-67 for the 1,582 page bill, with 64 Republicans and three Democrats voting against the bill.[15] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[16] It included a 1 percent increase in the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel, a $1 billion increase in Head Start funding for early childhood education, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, and the protection of the Affordable Care Act from any drastic cuts. Kennedy joined with the majority of the Democratic party and voted in favor of the bill.[14][15]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Nay3.png On September 30, 2013, the House passed a final stopgap spending bill before the shutdown went into effect. The bill included a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and would have also stripped the bill of federal subsidies for congressional members and staff. It passed through the House with a vote of 228-201.[17] At 1 a.m. on October 1, 2013, one hour after the shutdown officially began, the House voted to move forward with going to a conference. In short order, Sen. Harry Reid rejected the call to conference.[18] Kennedy voted against the stopgap spending bill that would have delayed the individual mandate.[19]

Yea3.png The shutdown ended on October 16, 2013, when the House took a vote on HR 2775 after it was approved by the Senate. The bill to reopen the government lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[20] The House passed the legislation shortly after the Senate, by a vote of 285-144, with all 144 votes against the legislation coming from Republican members. Kennedy voted for HR 2775.[21]


Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Morton Memos Prohibition

Nay3.png Kennedy voted against House Amendment 136 - Prohibits the Enforcement of the Immigration Executive Order. The amendment was adopted by the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 224 - 201. The purpose of the amendment as stated on the official text is to "prohibit the use of funds to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce the Morton Memos." These memos would have granted administrative amnesty to certain illegal aliens residing in the United States.[22] The vote largely followed party lines.[23]


Nay3.png Kennedy has voted against all attempts to repeal or delay the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[24]

Social issues


Nay3.png Kennedy voted against HR 1797 - Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The resolution passed the House on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 228 - 196. The purpose of the bill was to ban abortions that would take place 20 or more weeks after fertilization.[25]


On The Issues Vote Match

Joe Kennedy III's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Kennedy is a Hard-Core Liberal. Kennedy received a score of 75 percent on social issues and 14 percent on economic issues.[26]

On The Issues organization logo.

The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.

On The Issues Vote Quiz[27]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Strongly Favors Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Strongly Favors
Expand ObamaCare Strongly Favors Comfortable with same-sex marriage Strongly Favors
Vouchers for school choice Opposes Keep God in the public sphere Strongly Opposes
Absolute right to gun ownership Strongly Opposes Human needs over animal rights Unknown
Higher taxes on the wealthy Strongly Favors Stricter punishment reduces crime Strongly Opposes
Support & expand free trade Unknown Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Strongly Favors
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Strongly Favors Maintain US sovereignty from UN Neutral
Prioritize green energy Strongly Favors Expand the military Strongly Opposes
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Favors Stay out of Iran Neutral
Privatize Social Security Strongly Opposes Never legalize marijuana Unknown
Note: Information last updated: April 19, 2015.[26] If you notice the rating has changed, email us.


King Amendment

Kennedy signed a letter sent to Collin Peterson in August 2013, asking him to keep Steve King's amendment out of the final Farm Bill.[28] The "Protect Interstate Commerce Act" amendment prevents states from applying their own laws on agricultural products to agricultural products from another state.[29] King introduced the amendment in response to a law in California, requiring a larger size cage for egg-producing chickens. King represents Iowa, which is a large egg producer.


24 hour fast

Kennedy joined immigration activists in a fast in an effort to encourage Congress to take up immigration reform. Kennedy fasted for 24 hours and then another Congress member took over the fast. On December 3, 2013, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced he had a new policy staffer working specifically on immigration issues, suggesting that House Republicans are also open to reform.[30]

Campaign themes


On his campaign website, Kennedy listed eight issues. They were:[31]

  • Jobs and the Economy

Excerpt: "The top creators of jobs in our district and state are small businesses. We need to do everything we can to make sure they have the tools and resources they need to start hiring, and that government is helping them rather than standing in the way."

  • Balancing our budget

Excerpt: "I believe in a country where the success of our future generations isn’t limited by the debts of their parents and grandparents. We have an obligation to our children – to their children – to get serious about balancing our budget and reducing our debt and deficit."

  • Energy independence

Excerpt: "A comprehensive energy plan is essential to the economy, environment, and security of our district, state and country. That means maximizing our domestic resources in a responsible way, seriously committing to renewable energy technologies and fuel efficiency measures, and cracking down on speculators manipulating the markets at the expense of working families

  • Health care reform
Excerpt: "I support the path set forth by the Affordable Care Act. It’s not perfect, but it makes some important reforms like paving the way for universal coverage, making sure insurance companies can’t discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, and guaranteeing women access to essential health services. There is still much work to do to make health care more efficient, more effective, and more transparent."

Joseph Kennedy III, "Kennedy announces his candidacy for Congress"
  • Foreign policy and security

Excerpt: "We have no greater obligation than protecting the safety and security of our country and her citizens at home and abroad. We’re facing one of the most complicated foreign policy landscapes in our history. We’re engaged in a global fight against terror involving multiple fronts, repeated deployments, tens of thousands dead and wounded, and great uncertainty."

  • Education

Excerpt: "Providing access to quality education is the number one way to ensure that a child has the chance to succeed. It’s also one of the most significant investments that we as a society can make in our economic future. Unless and until every child is prepared to take up the challenge of continuing our great history of innovation and high-skilled work, we will continue to fall behind where we once led."

  • Social Justice

Excerpt: "I believe that this country was founded on the principles of equality and fairness, and that we should be doing all we can to ensure those basic ideals continue to light our way."

  • Women's Rights

Excerpt: "I believe this country was founded on the basic principles of equality and fairness. The fight to preserve and strengthen women’s rights is at the epicenter of our efforts to make sure those fundamental values hold true for future generations."[31]



See also: Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District elections, 2014

Kennedy won re-election to the U.S. House in 2014.[32] He was unopposed the Democratic primary election and faced no major party opposition in the general election.

U.S. House, Massachusetts District 4 General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJoe Kennedy Incumbent 72.1% 184,158
     Write-in Other 1.5% 3,940
     Blank None 26.3% 67,199
Total Votes 255,297
Source: Massachusetts Secretary of State Official Results


See also: Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District elections, 2012

Kennedy ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. House to represent Massachusetts' 4th District. He defeated Herb Robinson and Rachel Brown in the September 6, 2012, Democratic primary. Incumbent Democrat Barney Frank did not seek re-election.[33][34]

General election

U.S. House, Massachusetts District 4 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJoseph Kennedy III 59.3% 221,303
     Republican Sean Bielat 34.8% 129,936
     Independent David Rosa 2.9% 10,741
     N/A All Others 0.1% 265
     N/A Blank Votes 2.9% 10,869
Total Votes 373,114
Source: Massachusetts Secretary of State "Return of Votes"
U.S. House, Massachusetts District 4 Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJoseph Kennedy III 90.1% 36,388
Rachel Brown 6.5% 2,611
Herb Robinson 3.4% 1,368
Total Votes 40,367


Kennedy received official endorsements for the 2012 election from the organizations below.[35]

  • Sierra Club
  • Massachusetts Coalition of Police
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Massachusetts Nurses Association
  • Massachusetts Teachers Association
  • Massachusetts AFL-CIO

Campaign donors

Fundraising events

The below chart from Find The Best tracks the fundraising events Kennedy attends.

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Comprehensive donor history

Comprehensive donor information for Kennedy is available dating back to 2012. Based on available campaign finance records, Kennedy raised a total of $6,898,341 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 16, 2013.[36]

Joseph Kennedy III's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2014 U.S. House (Massachusetts, District 4) Won $2,694,291
2012 U.S. House (Massachusetts, District 4) Won $4,204,050
Grand Total Raised $6,898,341

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.


Kennedy won re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. During that election cycle, Kennedy's campaign committee raised a total of $2,694,291 and spent $1,629,037.[37] This is more than the average $1.45 million spent by House winners in 2014.[38]

Cost per vote

Kennedy spent $8.85 per general election vote received in 2014.

U.S. House, Massachusetts District 4, 2014 - Joseph Kennedy III Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $2,694,291
Total Spent $1,629,037
Total Raised by Election Runner-up $67,000
Total Spent by Election Runner-up $72,165
Top contributors to Joseph Kennedy III's campaign committee
Highfields Capital Management$39,800
Thornton & Naumes$28,800
Mintz, Levin et al$22,650
Harvard University$21,850
Bain Capital$21,800
Top 5 industries that contributed to campaign committee
Securities & Investment$414,975
Lawyers/Law Firms$323,799
Real Estate$168,100
Business Services$86,646

Below are Kennedy’s FEC reports.[39]


Kennedy won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Kennedy's campaign committee raised a total of $4,204,050 and spent $3,869,295.[45]

Cost per vote

Kennedy spent $17.48 per vote received in 2012.

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a two-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of two different metrics:

PGI: Change in net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Kennedy's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $15,127,233 and $48,801,997. That averages to $31,964,615, which is higher than the average net worth of Democratic representatives in 2012 of $5,700,168.36. Kennedy ranked as the 22nd most wealthy representative in 2012.[46] Between 2011 and 2012, Kennedy's calculated net worth[47] decreased by an average of 12 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[48]

Joseph Kennedy Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2011 to 2012:-12%
Average annual growth:-12%[49]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[50]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.

PGI: Donation Concentration Metric

See also: The Donation Concentration Metric (U.S. Congress Personal Gain Index)

Filings required by the Federal Election Commission report on the industries that give to each candidate. Using campaign filings and information calculated by, Ballotpedia calculated the percentage of donations by industry received by each incumbent over the course of his or her career (or 1989 and later, if elected prior to 1988). Kennedy received the most donations from individuals and PACs employed by the Securities & Investment industry.

From 2011-2014, 36.09 percent of Kennedy's career contributions came from the top five industries as listed below.[51]

Donation Concentration Metric graphic.png
Joseph Kennedy III Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $6,575,294
Total Spent $5,208,114
Top five industries that contributed to campaign committee
Securities & Investment$784,225
Lawyers/Law Firms$764,874
Real Estate$369,580
Business Services$236,546
% total in top industry11.93%
% total in top two industries23.56%
% total in top five industries36.09%


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Kennedy was a "rank-and-file Democrat," as of August 4, 2014. Kennedy was rated as a "centrist Democratic follower" in June 2013.[52]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[53]

Kennedy most often votes with:

Kennedy least often votes with:

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Kennedy missed 19 of 1,120 roll call votes from January 2013 to August 2014, which is 1.7% of votes during that period. This is better than the median of 2.5% among the lifetime records of representatives currently serving.[54]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Click the link above for the full ratings of all members of Congress.


Kennedy ranked 57th in the liberal rankings in 2013.[55]

Voting with party

The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus.


Kennedy voted with the Democratic Party 95.4 percent of the time, which ranked 18th among the 204 House Democratic members as of August 2014.[56]


Kennedy voted with the Democratic Party 95.9 percent of the time, which ranked 7th among the 201 House Democratic members as of June 2013.[57]


Kennedy is the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy. His father was a member of the U.S. House from Massachusetts.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Joseph + Kennedy + Massachusetts + House

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Joseph Kennedy News Feed

  • Loading...

See also

External links

Suggest a link
Political Tracker has an article on:
Joseph Kennedy


  1. Politico, "2012 Election Map, Massachusetts," accessed 2012
  2. Politico, "House Election Results," accessed November 4, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 Joe Kennedy 2012, "About Joe," accessed June 26, 2012
  4. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "Kennedy," accessed September 20, 2013
  5. U.S. House of Representatives, Office of the Clerk, "Committee Information," accessed February 18, 2015
  6., "House Committee Rosters for the 113th Congress," accessed March 3, 2013
  7. U.S. House of Representatives, "Committee assignments," accessed March 31, 2014
  8. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  9. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 Project Vote Smart, "Representative Joseph Kennedy's Voting Records on Defense," accessed September 24, 2013
  11. Clerk of U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote 31: H.R. 2642," accessed February 12, 2014
  12. Politico, "House clears Farm Bill," accessed February 12, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 New York Times, "Senate passes long-stalled Farm Bill, with clear winners and losers," accessed February 12, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1, "House passes compromise $1.1 trillion budget for 2014," accessed January 20, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote 21," accessed January 20, 2014
  16. Roll Call, "House passes $1.1 trillion omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
  17. Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  18. Buzzfeed, "Government Shutdown: How We Got Here," accessed October 1, 2013
  19. Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  20. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  21. U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 550," accessed October 31, 2013
  22. The Library of Congress, "H.AMDT.136," accessed August 28, 2013
  23. Project Vote Smart, "Representative Joseph Kennedy's Voting Records on Immigration," accessed September 24, 2013
  24. Project Vote Smart, "Representative Joseph Kennedy's Voting Records on Issue: Health and Healthcare," accessed September 24, 2013
  25. Project Vote Smart, "Kennedy on abortion," accessed September 24, 2013
  26. 26.0 26.1 On The Issues, "Joe Kennedy III Vote Match," accessed April 19, 2015
  27. The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers.
  28. Vote Smart, "Letter to Ranking Member Collin Peterson, House Committee on Agriculture - Reject Rep. King's Provision on Farm Bill," accessed September 23, 2013
  29., "King Farm Bill Amendment Angers Animal Advocates," accessed September 18, 2013
  30. Politico, "Rep. Joe Kennedy joins immigration fast," accessed December 4, 2013
  31. 31.0 31.1 Joe Kennedy for Congress, "Where I Stand," accessed August 11, 2012
  32. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named releection
  33. Washington Post, "Joe Kennedy III announces run for Barney Frank’s seat," accessed February 15, 2012
  34. Associated Press, "Massachusetts Primary Results," accessed September 6, 2012
  35. Kennedy's Campaign Website, "Press Releases," accessed 2012
  36. Open Secrets, "Joe Kennedy III," accessed May 16, 2013
  37. Open Secrets, "Joseph Kennedy 2014 Election Cycle," accessed April 7, 2015
  38. Open Secrets, "Winning vs. Spending," accessed April 7, 2015
  39. Federal Election Commission, "Joseph Kennedy III Summary Report," accessed July 25, 2013
  40. Federal Election Commission, "Joseph Kennedy III April Quarterly," accessed July 25, 2013
  41. Federal Election Commission, "Joseph Kennedy III July Quarterly," accessed October 9, 2013
  42. Federal Election Commission, "Joseph Kennedy III October Quarterly," accessed October 15, 2013
  43. Federal Election Commission, "Year End Report," accessed February 17, 2014
  44. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed April 21, 2014
  45. Open Secrets, "2012 Re-Election Cycle," accessed February 16, 2013
  46. OpenSecrets, "Kennedy (D-MA), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
  47. This figure represents the total percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below).
  48. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  49. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  50. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  51., "Rep. Joe Kennedy III," accessed September 24, 2014
  52. GovTrack, "Joseph Kennedy III," accessed August 4, 2014
  53. OpenCongress, "Joseph Kennedy," accessed August 4, 2014
  54. GovTrack, "Joseph Kennedy," accessed August 4, 2014
  55. National Journal, "2013 Congressional Vote Ratings," accessed August 4, 2014
  56. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  57. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Barney Frank
U.S. House of Representatives - Massachusetts, District 4
Succeeded by