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The Importance of Civic Engagement: A Conversation with Joe Kennedy III

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Hosted by Berry IOP Fellow Alison King

Join the Frederick E. Berry Institute of Politics at 10:50 am - 12:05 pm on Thursday, February 15 for this event about the importance of civic engagement with Joe Kennedy III. From the Peace Corps to the halls of Congress to Project Groundwork, Joe Kennedy has made civic engagement and public service a cornerstone of his career. As the grand nephew of President John F. Kennedy and the grandson of former US Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Kennedy has had a front row seat to the highs and lows of modern American politics. Since leaving Congress in 2021 he has founded Project Groundwork which focuses on boosting local community organizing throughout the US.  He currently serves as managing director of Citizens Energy and as Special Envoy to Northern Ireland for Economic Affairs. Join us for this fireside chat moderated by Berry IOP Fellow Alison King. 

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About Joe Kennedy III

Joe Kennedy has dedicated his career to social and economic justice. A former Congressman, legal aid volunteer, and assistant district attorney, he currently serves as managing director of Citizens Energy, a non-profit company founded in 1979 to help low-income families meet their basic needs. At Citizens, Joe focuses on making renewable power more accessible to households historically priced out of green energy.

In addition, Joe serves in the Biden Administration as Special Envoy to Northern Ireland for Economic Affairs, a key diplomatic post through which he focuses on the long-standing U.S. commitment to peace, prosperity, and stability throughout the region. He is also the founder of Groundwork Project, a political advocacy organization dedicated to investing in community organizing in regions of the country most overlooked, disenfranchised and left behind. The U.S. Representative for Massachusetts’s 4th Congressional District from 2013-2021, Kennedy built an impressive legislative record around civil rights, health care, and economic policy, emerging as a national figure in some of our most pivotal political debates. From his headline-making fights for affordable health care and compassionate immigration policy to his legislative leadership on issues like mental health parity and transgender equality, he became one of the Trump Era’s most powerful voices for moral clarity.

Prior to serving in Congress, Kennedy was an Assistant District Attorney in Massachusetts. He attended Stanford University and Harvard Law School, where he was an active member of the Legal Aid Bureau, and spent two years in the United States Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. The grandson of former United States Attorney General Robert Kennedy and great-nephew of President John F. Kennedy and former Senator Ted Kennedy, he serves as a senior advisor at the Emerson Collective and on the boards of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, the Woodwell Climate Research Center, the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, and the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps.

Joe is married to Lauren Birchfield Kennedy, founder and CEO of Neighborhood Villages, a leading childcare advocacy group. They live in Newton, Massachusetts with their two young children, Eleanor and James.


Alison King, Berry IOP Fellow and Award-Winning Political Journalist

Alison King is an award-winning journalist with over 30 years of experience in the broadcasting industry. She spent most of her career covering politics in New England including leading the local, state and regional political coverage for NBC Boston/NECN from 1995 until her retirement from TV in April 2023. She has covered seven presidential elections and interviewed every Republican and Democratic presidential candidate since 1996. King has also reported and produced three documentaries, including “Ted Kennedy: Last Liberal Standing,” “The Education of Deval Patrick,” and “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of New Hampshire.” She has won several awards for her reporting including 4 Emmys, 2 Gracies and 3 Associated Press awards.


Learn more about the Frederick E. Berry Institute of Politics at Salem State.

When 12:00pm
Classroom Building, Central Campus
71 Loring Avenue, Salem, MA 01970
Recital Hall
Frederick E. Berry Institute of Politics

For access and accommodation information, visit our page on access or email

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