Ted Kennedy Jr. was surrounded like a political superstar on Wednesday when the AFL-CIO honored his father, but don't expect to see his name on any ballot soon.
While he said he has thought about following his late father's footsteps and running for political office, he has no immediate plans to do so while his children are young.
Kennedy, who lives in Branford, said he's not ready to divide what he calls his "primary job" of being father to his two young children.
After his son and daughter grow old enough that they "will not want to hang out with me," he just might run.
"I would be lying to you if I said I never thought of running for office. I have," Kennedy said after his talk to the convention. "I think every Kennedy has at one point thought about that."
Kennedy, a 47-year-old attorney, noted that his 11-year-old son, Ted, gave interviews in which he said he planned to run for Senate when he was 45.
"He's already got his life all laid out," Kennedy joked. "I wish I could say the same for mine."
Kennedy appeared Wednesday the Connecticut AFL-CIO convention in New Haven to speak about Sen. Edward Kennedy's commitment to the labor movement.
Sen. Kennedy died Aug. 25 of brain cancer. During his funeral service, Ted Jr. delivered a moving tribute, sharing a story that showed his father’s parenting skills and the determination for which he was known.
The younger Kennedy lost a leg from cancer at the age of 12 and recalled before a room full of mourners how his father helped him climb a hill to sled. That experience, he said, taught him that even the most profound losses are survivable.
“And my father went to the garage to get the old Flexible Flyer, and asked me if I wanted to go sledding down the steep driveway. And I was trying to get used to my new artificial leg. And the hill was covered with ice and snow. And it wasn’t easy for me to walk. And the hill was very slick. And as I struggled to walk, I slipped and I fell on the ice. And I started to cry and I said, I can’t do this. I said, I’ll never be able to climb up that hill,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy’s dad lifted him up and said something his son has never forgotten, “I know you can do it. There is nothing that you can’t do. We’re going to climb that hill together, even if it takes us all day.”
And they did.
The AFL-CIO has called Sen. Ted Kennedy " the strongest champion in Washington for workers and their unions, for policies that ensure the right of hardworking Americans to support themselves and their families," according to an AFL-CIO blog.
Ted Kennedy Jr. said he plans to attend President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night on health care reform. Kennedy said he favors a government-run insurance option, but said there are other good proposals pending and said the key is to make insurance affordable and cover as many people as possible.
Kennedy said his father did not express a preference for who should fill his vacant Senate seat and neither did he.