Joe Kennedy Skips House Vote Because of ‘Public Health’ Crisis, Posts Selfie Voting in His Primary

U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., smiles after a news conference, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Newton, Mass. Kennedy III, a scion of one of America's most storied political families, is taking steps to challenge U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., in the 2020 Democratic primary, setting the stage for what …
Elise Amendola/AP Photo

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) wrote a letter to the House of Representatives’ clerk on Friday stating he could not attend House proceedings because of the “ongoing public health emergency,” but then posted a photo of himself participating in early voting in his Senate primary in Massachusetts.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had called members back from their August recess early to pass legislation related to the United States Postal Service (USPS); however, Kennedy wrote that he was “unable to physically attend,” referencing the House resolution authorizing Congress members to vote by proxy because of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic:

Kennedy designated Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) as his proxy to vote for the Delivering for America Act, which would provide an additional $25 billion in relief funds to the USPS and “prohibit the Postal Service from implementing or approving any changes to the operations or service levels in effect on January 1, 2020, that would impede prompt, reliable, and efficient service.”

Kennedy also posted a video message Friday, the same day he submitted his proxy letter, encouraging Massachusetts residents to “get out there and vote” and specifying he would be voting early Saturday morning in Newton:

Kennedy, the grandnephew of President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Ted Kennedy, has challenged incumbent Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) in what has become a contentious primary race taking place September 1. Should he lose, he would be the first in his dynastic family to do so in a Massachusetts election. He would also forfeit serving in Congress altogether as he is giving up his House seat in his bid for Senate.

Polls indicate the race is in a dead heat, and while Markey has secured several high-profile endorsements from progressive activists to aid in his reelection, Pelosi, in an unusual move, endorsed Kennedy this week.

Kennedy’s letter was among 69 active letters from Democrats to the House clerk designating proxies because of coronavirus.

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