Biography » polititians » kathleen kennedy townsend


Name: Kathleen Kennedy Townsend                                                       
Born: 4 July 1951 Greenwich, Connecticut                                               
Hon. Kathleen Hartington Kennedy Townsend, (born July 4, 1951) was lieutenant         
governor of the U.S. state of Maryland from 1995 to 2003. She ran unsuccessfully       
for Governor of Maryland in 2002. The eldest of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel           
Skakel's 11 children, she is part of the Kennedy political family. She was named       
for her aunt Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington, who died in       
a plane crash in 1948.                                                                 
Townsend was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, and spent most of her childhood in       
McLean, Virginia, though she attended Stone Ridge School in nearby Bethesda,           
Maryland. Her Godparents are her aunt Jean Kennedy Smith and Danny Walsh, a           
teacher of her mother's during her attendance at Manhattanville. She                   
graduated cum laude from Harvard University, receiving her bachelor's degree in       
history and literature. She then studied at the University of New Mexico law           
school, receiving her Juris Doctor degree in 1978. For several years, she worked       
as an attorney.                                                                       
In 1986, Townsend ran for Congress in Maryland's second Congressional district,       
losing to Helen Delich Bentley 41% to 59%, thus becoming the first Kennedy to         
lose a general election. She then went to work for the state                           
government of Maryland, holding numerous government posts including assistant         
Attorney General. She also served on the State Board of Education, and as a           
presidential elector in 1992. Following this, she worked for two years in the         
Clinton administration, as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General.                       
Townsend married David Lee Townsend (b. November 17, 1947), a tutor (professor)       
at St. John's College in Annapolis, on November 17, 1973 in Washington, D.C.. He       
is the son of L. Raymond Townsend and Delores Fahey. The Townsends have four           
Meaghan Anne Kennedy Townsend (b. November 7, 1977 in Santa Fe, New Mexico);           
Maeve Fahey Kennedy Townsend (b. November 1, 1979 in New Haven, Connecticut);         
Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend (b. December 17, 1983 in Weston, Massachusetts);       
Kerry Sophia Kennedy Townsend (b. November 30, 1991 in Bethesda, Maryland).           
In 1994, Parris Glendening was running for Governor in a highly contested             
primary against Lt. Governor Melvin A. Steinberg. Glendening's selection of           
Townsend to serve as his running mate was widely credited for giving his               
campaign national support, and Kennedy money, ultimately for winning the               
Democratic primary. In the General election, Glendening and Townsend beat             
Republican candidate Ellen Sauerbrey in one of Maryland's closest and most             
controversial gubernatorial elections. The election was in doubt as charges of         
voter fraud led to a lawsuit by the Sauerbrey campaign to overturn the election,       
which was ultimately unsuccessful. The same tickets squared off again in 1998,         
but this time Glendening and Townsend won with a wider margin of victory.             
In the Maryland gubernatorial election of 2002, Lt. Gov. Townsend ran as a             
Democrat, facing off against Republican Bob Ehrlich and Libertarian Spear             
During the election, Townsend was criticized for her choice of running mate; she       
picked retired Admiral Charles R. Larson, a novice politician who had switched         
parties only a few weeks before. Larson was also a white male, unlikely to help       
minority turnout. In contrast, Ehrlich's running mate was Michael S. Steele, an       
African-American lawyer who had been chairman of the Republican Party of               
Maryland. The Townsend campaign was also hurt by the low approval ratings of           
outgoing Governor Parris Glendening, who also had been involved in a marital           
scandal during the latter half of his second term as governor. Townsend's             
popularity continued to fall when it was reported that much of her campaign           
money was given by out-of-state donors; Ehrlich remained quiet while the Lt.           
Governor's poll numbers declined.                                                     
Even though Maryland traditionally votes Democratic and had not elected a             
Republican Governor in almost 40 years, Townsend lost the race, gaining 48% of         
the vote to Ehrlich's 51% and Lancaster's 1%. Ehrlich became only the seventh         
Republican governor in state history, resulting in heavy criticism directed at         
Townsend from many party activists. In the end, most observers agreed she ran a       
weak campaign; specifically, they cited a lack of planning, claiming that she         
hastily booked campaign stops in rural areas hostile to her and that she               
produced campaign literature of poor printing quality.                                 
Since leaving office, Townsend has served on the board of directors for many           
organizations, and consultant to several corporations. Currently she is chair of       
the Institute for Human Virology at the University of Maryland, and also serves       
on the boards of directors of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, Points of       
Light Foundation, Center for American Progress, and National Catholic Reporter.       
She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Inter-American       
Dialogue, as well as adjunct Professor at Georgetown University's School of           
Public Policy and Visiting Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.     
In late 2007, Townsend, along with siblings Robert F. Kennedy Jr.and Kerry             
Kennedy, announced that they would be endorsing Hillary Clinton.                       
In response to subsequent endorsements by Caroline Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, and           
Patrick J. Kennedy for Barack Obama, Robert, Kathleen, and Kerry wrote in a           
January 29, 2008 editorial, "By now you may have read or heard that our cousin,       
Caroline Kennedy, and our uncle, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, have come out in favor       
of Sen. Barack Obama. We, however, are supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton         
because we believe that she is the strongest candidate for our party and our