BOSTON — Joseph Kennedy III is taking the first steps toward a run for retiring Rep. Barney Frank’s 4th Congressional District seat.
The 31-year-old Kennedy said Thursday he is forming an exploratory committee and is resigning from his prosecutor’s job in Middlesex County in two weeks.
“One lesson that will stick with me from my time in the courts is how hard police, prosecutors and judges work together to achieve fairness,” Kennedy said in a statement. “Fairness, the foundation of America’s social compact, seems to be in short supply these days.”
He is the son of former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II and a grandson of the late Robert F. Kennedy.
The Kennedy family has seen its influence in Washington fade in recent years as its younger generations have largely shunned public office.
The death of Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts in 2009 left a void for the family. The retirement of Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island last year marked the first time in 63 years that there was not a Kennedy serving in elected office in Washington.
WBUR Democratic political analyst Dan Payne says a Kennedy campaign would be formidable, and not only because of the family name.
“Not just name recognition but financing and people who consider themselves part of the extended Kennedy family are willing to work for a Kennedy,” Payne said.
With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom