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Boston Common - Niche Media - A side of Boston that's anything but common.

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"You can't be just a show horse. If you aren't solid on the issues, the conversation is over."—MARK SHRIVER passage from the Gospel of Luke, has long been the family motto. JFK used it in a speech to the Massachusetts legislature; Senator Edward Kennedy said his mother, Rose, instilled that principle in her children as "an endur- ing sort of challenge for all our lives." Mark Shriver writes that he can't remember when he learned it; it was "just always there in my memory." Maeve Townsend quoted it when her great-uncle Ted Kennedy died. Even a partial list of Kennedy causes, most having to do with the disabled or disadvantaged, is impressive. Mark Shriver's brother Timothy is the chair- man and CEO of the Special Olympics, which was founded by their mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. (At Eunice's funeral, Robert Kennedy Jr. called her fight for the rights of the mentally disabled another civil rights issue.) Brother Robert Sargent Shriver III was one of the cofounders of DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) along with U2 front man Bono; they also cofounded the popular (Product) Red campaign. (Bono and Stevie Wonder performed at Sargent Shriver's funeral.) Another brother, Anthony Kennedy Shriver, started Best Buddies International. Since leaving office, Mark Shriver has joined Save the Children as senior vice president of US programs. Several younger Kennedys, including Maeve Townsend, Teddy Shriver, and candidate Joe III himself, have tithed their public service with stints in the Peace Corps, just one of the important agencies built by Eunice's hus- band, Sargent Shriver. Former First Lady of California Maria Shriver is active in women's networking and Alzheimer's research. (PBS's Shields calls the Shrivers "remarkable—funny, quick, unpretentious, and irreverent in the best sense. I like and admire all of them.") Robert Kennedy Jr. has been chief prosecuting attorney for Riverkeeper since 1984. Joe Kennedy II founded Citizens Energy Corporation, which, as its TV ads emphasize, assists low-income families in getting heating fuel. Emmy-winning filmmaker Rory Kennedy has turned her lens on AIDS, rural poverty, Abu Ghraib, and nuclear power. Kerry Kennedy is chair of Amnesty International's USA Leadership Council. And that gene is still running true. Thomas Maier, author of The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings, says, "It's striking that the fifth [by Boston standards] generation of Kennedys still has a sense of public service and commitment to the environment, the handicapped, and other social justice issues, which is quite remarkable compared to most other Americans. It's a legacy that they still admire and uphold." T he price of that commitment is often the glare of the public spot- light. But the youngest members of the clan have been willing to tiptoe into in 2010 at it. Maria Shriver's eldest daughter, Katherine Schwarzenegger, published Rock What You Got, a book about teen body image, the age of 20. At 15, her younger brother Patrick cofounded a fashion-for-charity brand called Project360. When he was in eighth grade, Caroline's son, Jack Schlossberg, cofounded ReLight New York, which raised more than $100,000 to install compact florescent lights in low-income housing developments. And RFK Jr.'s daughter Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy (along with her ear- catching friends Sara Delano Roosevelt and Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin) signed on to an endorsement-to-charity fund in her early 20s. So is Kennedy 4.0 locked and loaded? Likely. Polls show Joe Kennedy III with a substantial lead and campaign pot. (In a family that, as Mark Shriver has remarked, was almost continuously involved in one campaign or another all their lives, the machinery has 103 never gotten rusty. Even Kennedys who have not run for office themselves have hit the pavement, phones, or Facebook for the others.) In March, Bobby and Maria Shriver and Rory Kennedy hosted a big-ticket Hollywood fundraiser; Caroline Kennedy and her husband, Edwin Schlossberg, did the same in Manhattan a few days later. The campaign reportedly raised $1.3 million in three months. Even without an interest in politics, the 20-something generation of Kennedys has the potential for star power. Rose Kennedy Schlossberg, who is often described as a ringer for her grandmother Jackie (and who, with her brother and sister, will inherit the biggest fortune in the family), reportedly remarked a couple of years ago that she had "better hurry up and run for something." (Historian Schlesinger is reported to have called the then-teen- aged Rose the future face of the Kennedys.) When Rose's then-18-year-old brother, Jack (formally John Bouvier Kennedy Schlossberg) wrote a letter to The New York Times disputing a critical column about his grandfather JFK, it led to speculation about his political ambition as well. Kick Kennedy is about to become one of the family's most frequently viewed faces: She's been cast in Aaron (The West Wing) Sorkin's upcoming HBO series, The Newsroom, about a cable news network. "Absolutely, family can be very helpful on so many levels," agrees Mark Shriver. "I have four siblings who are incredibly smart, and they work very, very hard. That support system by itself is amazing. And I have 20-some-odd cousins all over the country.... But you can't be just a show horse. If you don't have the substance, if you aren't solid on the issues, the conversation is over." Many pundits and family members also have high expectations of Joe Kennedy III's twin, Matthew, who co-managed Ted Kennedy's final Senate campaign and worked in the Obama White House Counsel's office before moving to the Department of Commerce. (Matt's famously self- deprecating stump speech for Obama was a YouTube hit.) But can they maintain the old Kennedy string of nearly 65 years? Well, in 2009, Edward M. Kennedy III, then aged 11, told a New England news network that he intended to follow in some of the family's deepest footsteps by running for the US Senate from Massachusetts—in 2044. BC The Lion of the Senate: The second most senior senator at the time of his death, Ted Kennedy was known for his work with civil rights and antidiscrimination legislation. photography by david hume kennerly/getty images

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