WASHINGTON — As the world remembers President John F. Kennedy’s legacy and the 50th anniversary of his assassination, Kennedy’s great nephew is requesting that Congress consider memorializing one of his key policy initiatives, the Peace Corps.
Representative Joseph P. Kennedy of Massachusetts testified Thursday before the House Committee on Natural Resources for a bill that would let the Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation establish a memorial on federal land.
During the 52-year history of the Peace Corps, more than 210,000 Americans have served in a variety of capacities ranging from AIDS education to information technology and environmental preservation in 139 countries. Currently more than 8,000 Peace Corps volunteers work in developing countries to assist local communities.
Kennedy, who served in the Peace Corps himself, said Americans will have to work harder to remember his great uncle’s “unshakable belief that he held that if we could export the fruits of our labor and fruits of our land, then we could surely export the most fundamental and precious American commodity of all — our values.”
But Kennedy stressed that the memorial would not be about the achievements of one leader, “but the potential of a people who are challenged to change the world.”
No federal dollars would be used in the creation of the commemorative works. The Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation would be fully responsible for funding the memorial.
A response to the Cold War, the Peace Corps traces its roots to a 2 a.m. campaign stop at the University of Michigan in Oct. 1960, where then-Senator Kennedy challenged students to give two years of their lives to help people in countries in the developing world.
Officially established in March the following year, the Peace Corps became the embodiment of President Kennedy’s “ask what you can do for your country” mindset for his administration, and the tradition still continues.
“Today, you can find those men and women in the Peace Corps, in our armed forces, in a soup kitchen in Chicago, a community health center in Georgia, and a legal aid clinic in California,” the current Massachusetts representative said.
— MATTIAS GUGEL
WASHINGTON — President Obama has lifted a ban on research into the possibility of transplanting organs from one HIV-positive person to another.
Obama signed a bill into law Thursday that directs the federal health department to develop and institute standards for conducting such research. It also permits the health secretary to allow such transplants if the research results warrant a change. The safety of the organ transplant process also must be protected.
Obama says the HOPE Act is an important step because it will help improve medical care for people living with HIV.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is taking on a new high-profile role that could enhance a future White House campaign.
Christie was elected chairman of the Republican Governors Association on Thursday, a perch that will allow him to travel the country in support of GOP governors and raise money for the party during 2014. He dismissed any talk of a 2016 presidential campaign, saying the task of competing in 36 governors’ races was the top priority.
‘‘My job is to go out there and elect and reelect Republican governors,’’ he said.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS