Robert Kennedy Jr. says he may opt to run for office
December 4, 2006
The Deseret News
Utah visit is to advocate protecting rivers, bodies of water from pollution
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son of RFK and nephew of JFK, said Sunday night that he may consider running for office.
Kennedy spoke at Westminster College before an overflow crowd, discussing a wide range of issues, primarily concerning the environment but also about the Iraq situation, assertions of government failure to regulate polluters, and what he believes are media that cater to the government and industry.
His talk, lasting more than an hour and a half, was occasionally broken by cheers from the 250 people in the college's Vieve Gore Concert Hall. More people were in overflow seating.
An enthusiastic response came late in the event.
A listener asked Kennedy if he would consider running for office. Others yelled encouragement, such as "We need you!"
Kennedy said he always tried to stay away from that. But now, with the country having gone so far down what he believes is the wrong road, he said if an opportunity came up he'd definitely consider running for
The comment was greeted by applause.
Later, the Deseret Morning News asked him what office he might run for. Kennedy replied it would be for
"senator or governor."
Although he suffers from a vocal cord ailment that makes his voice sound strained, his speech was easy to understand. He was accompanied by his wife, Mary, who remained in the audience as he talked.
Kennedy is the president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an umbrella organization of 160 nonprofit groups around the world working to protect rivers, bays, lakes, streams and other bodies of water. His talk was a fund-raiser for the Great Salt Lakekeeper group, headed by Jeff Salt; the group is part of the alliance.
"You know, we're living in a science-fiction nightmare," Kennedy said. A child can no longer fish in a nearby river and catch a fish that would be safe for his family to eat, he said, because some polluter gave money to a politician.
Air pollution from coal-burning power plants, and possibly mining pollution in the case of the Great Salt Lake, contaminate many waterways and the air with unsafe levels of mercury, he said.
About 12 weeks ago, Kennedy said, the White House said it was scrapping new rules on mercury emissions from power plants.
Kennedy said America has a kind of fascism in which industry controls government and does not allow the free marketplace to function properly.
"These water bodies belong to the people," he said. "They're not owned by the governor or the legislature or the municipality."
He said polluters are thieves who are stealing the birthright of everyone. Kennedy added, "This is the worst ... administration that we've ever had" in terms of environmental protection.