* Chris Kennedy interviewed by the Peoria Journal Star…
Q: Particularly in the last couple of months, you’ve emphasized while campaigning that you’re definitely not the choice of the Democratic establishment in Illinois. Some people might hear the Kennedy name and think “underdog?” Why is that a valid notion?
A: I think the most shocking thing for people to hear is a Kennedy being critical of the Democratic Party. The truth is, when President Kennedy ran for president, his greatest opposition wasn’t Richard Nixon in the general election, it was the Democratic Party in the primaries that said, “We don’t want you to be our standardbearer because you’re Catholic and you’ll lose in the general. We don’t want you to be our leader because you’re too young and you’ll lose in the general. We don’t want you to be our leader because you’re not one of us and we don’t want somebody who we can’t control.” He overcame all that.
My father, Bobby Kennedy, runs for Senate in 1964 from the state of New York and they say you’re not from here, even though his parents raised him there. They call him a carpetbagger and they say we don’t need you here. He overcomes the Democrats in the primary and wins the general election. He runs in 1968 against the head of the Democratic Party, the president of the United States, Lyndon Johnson, because too many people of color or who were poor disproportionately were fighting in the Vietnam War. Teddy, my uncle, runs against Jimmy Carter in 1980, the sitting president, because Carter oversaw a federal reserve that jacked interest rates to 19, 20 percent and drove tens of millions of people out of jobs, and Teddy said that’s not the Democratic Party we want.
And I have to say the same in Illinois. This is not the Democratic Party that represents Kennedy values. These are people who are making money off the system as property tax appeals lawyers that’s destroying our ability to educate the next generation of kids in our state. You want economic development? Jobs go to where the highly educated high school and college kids are. You can’t produce highly educated high school kids when you rely on property taxes. Everybody knows that, yet we cling to that system because our leadership is property tax appeals lawyers, and they’re destroying our state.