Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Joe Kennedy III delivered what The Hill called "bittersweet remarks" in his final address to the House of Representatives on Wednesday, telling the lower chamber that while he was "proud and hopeful" of what could be accomplished after his departure, America is a nation plagued by greed.
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Kennedy, 40, served four terms in Congress, and instead of running for re-election to the House in 2020, he made a failed attempt to challenge fellow Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Ed Markey for his seat. Markey, 74, beat Kennedy by 10 points.
In his farewell speech, Kennedy began by calling his service to his district "an honor" before extending his gratitude to his wife, several fellow members, constituents, and aides.
The Democrat said that he leaves the House "proud and hopeful," while calling the U.S. a "complicated and messy country."
"We violated our founding promises before the ink was dry," Kennedy asserted. "We boldly declared 'we the people' and promptly defined 'we' as rich, white, Protestant male."
He continued, "We staked out moral high ground of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and paid for it with human bondage, abuse, and suffering that we carry to this day."
Kennedy went on to voice encouragement that progress has been made, before pointing to "the great lie of our times: that the American pie is finite. That for my family to survive, yours must suffer. That the richest nation on Earth is somehow plagued by scarcity, rather than greed."
Rep. Joe Kennedy gives bittersweet farewell speech on House floor www.youtube.com
The New York Times reported that with Kennedy's departure, "2021 will be the rare year since 1946" that a member of his famous family will not have a seat in Congress.
The Associated Press noted:
Kennedy is the grandson of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D-N.Y., who was assassinated in 1968. A member of that Kennedy family has been in Congress with little interruption since Robert Kennedy's brother, the future President John F. Kennedy, entered the House from Massachusetts in 1947.
The Democrat did not hint at what his plans are for the future during his farewell address, besides promising his children that he has "breakfast, bath, school drop-off duty for the next 15 years or so."
According to the Boston Herald, Kennedy said he has been in talks for a possible post in the Biden administration.
The outlet further reported:
Kennedy's also been floated as a top contender for a special Senate election in the increasingly unlikely chance U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren gets tapped for a position in President-elect Joe Biden's administration. But his spokeswoman, Emily Kaufman, recently told the Herald, "Joe does not plan to run for Senate next year if a seat opens up."