Patrick Kennedy

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Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy is in town speaking with the addiction and mental health community. 

Kennedy has been advocating for better and more accessible treatment for addiction and mental illness for years. In 2013 he launched the Kennedy Forum to help focus those efforts.


  The criticism came fast and hard for former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee’s presidential debate performance. Yet RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says this shouldn’t tarnish his family’s political legacy or his reputation for truth-telling.

John Bender / RIPR

Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy has pulled the veil from his famous family in a new book that details his addiction and mental health issues.  Some members of his family have reacted angrily to the book, calling the memoir inaccurate. RIPR’s Scott MacKay says Kennedy deserves a Profile in Courage award of his own.

The time for raking snow from the roof has given way to the delights of spring and inevitable complaints about heat and humidity. The General Assembly session is headed to busier times and other big issues are simmering. So thanks for stopping by. Feel free to drop me comments and tips at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters.

David Axelrod’s fine and quite well-written new political memoir entitled `Believer: My Forty Years In Politics’ has some interesting insights on Patrick Kennedy’s early career, in which Axelrod had a role.

In 1994, Axelrod, who would later become Barack Obama’s political consigliere, was the media consultant for Kennedy’s first campaign for Congress in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District. Kennedy, just 26, had served five years in the RI House of Representatives as a rep from Providence’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood.

Former congressman Patrick Kennedy says the death of comedian Robin Williams shouldn’t overshadow the scores of other Americans who suffer from depression.

Kennedy says his heart goes out to Williams’ family: But yesterday Robin Williams was not the only one to take his life. There were 100 other Americans who successfully took their lives yesterday alone, and today there will be another hundred Americans who will successfully take their lives,” he said.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Former congressman Patrick Kennedy stumped with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras at an elderly high-rise in East Providence Tuesday morning. The event took place with exactly four weeks until Rhode Island’s September 9th primary election, and Kennedy used the occasion to argue that rival Democrat Clay Pell is too inexperienced to be governor.

Rhode Island’s  Democratic secretary of state primary between Newport investor Guillaume De Ramel and Nellie Gorbea is shaping up as one of the state’s most interesting down ballot elections in  this 2014 campaign cycle.

De Ramel will announce this afternoon that he has secured the endorsement of  former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, who represented the state’s First District from his first election in 1994 until he decided against running for reelection in 2010.

Ted Kennedy Jr., is about to enter the family business. Kennedy, son of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and brother of former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, is slated today to announce his candidacy for state Senate in Connecticut, where he has lived for many years.

A bill is making its way through Rhode Island's General Assembly that would legalize marijuana and regulate and tax it like alcohol. Possessing small amounts has already been decriminalized here. And interest has been growing in legalization for a while.

Proponents say that legalizing the drug would keep harmless people out of jail. Opponents say marijuana is just as dangerous as any other drug and should remain illegal.

The arguments are heating up.

Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy has endorsed Seth Magaziner  for the Democratic nomination for Rhode Island state general treasurer.

In a news release, Kennedy said, ``I am proud to support Seth because I know he is the best candidate to move Rhode Island forward.’’

Kennedy also said, ``Not only will bring a steady hand to the state’s finances, he will bring new energy and fresh ideas that will put Rhode Islanders to work and make our state competitive in the 21st Century economy.’’

Patrick Kennedy and his wife Amy have announced the arrival of their new daughter, Nora Kara Kennedy. She was born today at 3:11 p.m. and weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces. Harper and Owen were reported to be thrilled to meet their new baby sister. Amy and the baby are both doing well, according to Kennedy family sources. In a week of the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's death, this is joyous news for the Kennedys.

Most health insurance plans must now cover mental health and addiction treatment the same way they cover medical benefits. A trio of federal agencies has issued the final rule on how to implement the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. Former congressman Patrick Kennedy says the act he co-sponsored is only a beginning for better mental health treatment.

Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy on Wednesday announced a new initiative to improve mental health care for Americans.

Despite progress, Kennedy says Americans with mental illness still face discrimination and a heightened risk for suicide. He plans to launch a new effort called the Kennedy Forum to address these and similar problems. Kennedy said part of the answer is implementing a 2008 law meant to ensure parity in insurance coverage for mental health care issues.