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A Kennedy may run for Frank's House seat

Combined wire services

WASHINGTON -- Joseph Kennedy III is taking the first steps toward a run in Massachusetts for retiring Rep. Barney Frank's congressional seat.

The 31-year-old Kennedy said yesterday he is forming an exploratory committee and is resigning his prosecutor's job in Middlesex County outside Boston in two weeks. He is the son of former Democratic Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II and a grandson of the late Robert F. Kennedy.

"My decision to look seriously at elected office is grounded in a deep commitment to public service and my experience -- both my own and that of my family -- in finding just, practical and bipartisan solutions to difficult challenges," Kennedy said in a statement.

The Kennedy family has seen its influence in Washington fade in recent years as its younger generations have largely shunned public office.

The death of Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts in 2009 left a void for the family. The retirement of Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island last year marked the first time in 63 years that there was not a Kennedy serving in elected office in Washington.

Joseph Kennedy's grandfather served as U.S. attorney general and as a U.S. senator from New York. Edward Kennedy was his great-uncle as was the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy, a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School, is a former member of the Peace Corps and was a prosecutor at the Cape and Islands district attorney's office.

Kennedy said in his statement he will make a final decision about entering the race after he has time to talk with potential constituents about issues.

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