, WASHINGTON, Feb 12 – US Representative Patrick Kennedy, son of the late senator Edward Kennedy, said Friday he will not seek re-election to Congress in the November mid-term elections.
With his departure there will be no member of the fabled Kennedy clan in an elected position for the first time in decades.
"Having spent two decades in politics, my life has taken a new direction, and I will not be a candidate for re-election this year," the 42-year-old Kennedy said in a brief video message, posted on the YouTube website.
The message will be broadcast in his district over the weekend, US media reported.
Kennedy, who has represented a district in the northeastern state of Rhode Island since 1995, thanked supporters, singling some out by name.
"We all know how difficult the past few years have been," he said, referring to the economy.
"Illness took the life of my most cherished mentor and confidant, my ultimate source of spirit and strength," he said, speaking about his father "Ted" Kennedy, who died on August 25, 2009 of brain cancer at the age of 77.
"My father taught me that politics at its very core is about serving others. For two decades I\’ve been humbled and honored to represent people of my state," he said.
"He instilled in me a deep commitment for public service, whether through elected office … or non-profit advocacy.
"Going forward I will continue many of the fights we waged together, particularly on behalf of those suffering from depression, addiction, autism and post-traumatic stress disorder," he said.
Ted Kennedy was brother to president John F. Kennedy — slain while in office in 1963 — and Robert "Bobby" Kennedy, killed while seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968.
In a shocking upset, the Massachusetts senate seat that Democrat Ted Kennedy held for 36 years was filled in a January election by a Republican, Scott Brown.
Patrick Kennedy, whose state neighbors Massachusetts, was set to face an especially tough re-election race against Republican state representative John Loughlin III, the New York Times reported.
Kennedy aides told the Times that a potentially bruising re-election was a factor, but that his father\’s death was a more important reason for Patrick Kennedy to retire.