Joseph P. Kennedy III, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy and the son of former Representative Joseph P. Kennedy II, announced Thursday that he will form a committee to explore a run for the congressional seat Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is vacating when he retires after serving his 16th term.
While having never held an elected office, Joseph Kennedy has spent much of his adult life in public service, both overseas and in his home state of Massachusetts. It's that experience he says inspired him to consider running for public office.
"My decision to look seriously at elected office is grounded in a deep commitment to public service and my experience -- both my own and that of my family -- in finding just, practical, and bipartisan solutions to difficult challenges," Kennedy said in a statement to the media, posted by MSNBC.
According to The Boston Globe, the 31-year-old Kennedy holds an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a law degree from Harvard Law School.
At Stanford, he studied industrial engineering and was the captain of the lacrosse team. While at Harvard, he worked with the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, which provides free legal services to low-income people in civil matters involving housing, government benefits, and wage laws.
Since September of 2011, Kennedy has been an Assistant District Attorney for the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, a job he is leaving on Jan. 20 to focus on his possible pursuit of public office. Prior to that, Kennedy was a prosecutor at the Cape and Island's District Attorney's office for two years.
From 2004 to 2006, he spent two years with the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, becoming the first member of his family to serve as a volunteer in the organization started by President John F. Kennedy. According to the Peace Corps, Kennedy spent his time in the Dominican Republic working on projects related to ecotourism.
This is not the first time this Kennedy's name has been floated for public office. In March 2010, Kennedy told the Cape Cod Times that he would not seek the seat of retiring Rep. William Delahunt. "I wouldn't rule something out," he told the paper, "but not right at the moment."
Perhaps now he's decided that moment has come.