DOESN’T TED Kennedy Jr. know he’s a Kennedy? Recently, the son of the legendary US senator announced his candidacy for the Connecticut state Senate. That’s right, the state Senate. Not the US Senate. Not the US House. Not statewide office. Kennedy is running to represent a half-dozen south-central towns, including his own hometown of Branford. This, it hardly need be said, is very different from the political route one might expect. In Massachusetts, the various Kennedys who have sought office have always looked at a seat in Congress as the first rung on their personal political ladder. But like his brother Patrick, who served in the Rhode Island House before going to Washington, Ted Jr. is launching his political career with a run for the state legislature. There’s a difference there, too, however. Patrick was 21. Ted Jr. is 52.
There’s little doubt that, if Kennedy is interested, bigger political opportunities will soon beckon. Still, there’s something deeply refreshing about a scion of the famous family who is willing to pay his dues, to learn about electoral politics a few steps away from the spotlight. If and when he does move up, he’ll be a better elected official for it.