Friday, November 7, 2008

Yes, he should

He came upon his passion under very unusual circumstances. With a pedigree like almost no other, he had a father and uncle who were instrumental in helping to shape our country and challenging each one of us to be part of the solution to our problems. His own background included graduation from the most prestigious college in the country and a degree from a highly regarded law school . However, in 1983 he pled guilty to charges relating to possession of heroin. To serve his 1500 hours of community service, in 1984 Robert Kennedy Jr. joined the Riverkeeper organization, working with the group to sue alleged polluters of the Hudson River.

When his 1500 hours of mandated work were done, Kennedy's efforts were not over, but only beginning. Kennedy was hired as the chief prosecuting attorney for Riverkeeper. He was founder, and is the present chairman of Waterkeeper Alliance, a group supporting local waterkeeper groups. For over 20 years he has served in the capacity of Clinical Professor of Environmental Law at Pace University School of Law. He has been named by Time Magazine as one of the "Heroes of the Planet" for his work in helping restore the Hudson River

He was a supporter of Hillary Clinton in the Presidential primaries, breaking with his more famous relatives, Senator Ted Kennedy and cousin Caroline Kennedy. Yet, Kennedy in an interview with Matt Lauer on October 1, 2008 said that he always believed Barack Obama to be a transformational figure.

When Barack Obama was elected this past Tuesday, the name of Robert Kennedy Jr. quickly surfaced as one of the leading candidates to head the Environmental Protection Agency. When informed of this possibility, Kennedy stated that he "would be of service in any way that the administration asked me to help". Kennedy compared Obama to President John Kennedy, finding in Obama the same "intellectual passion... his obsession and preoccupation with justice and including all different members of our society".

We are in very difficult times. Barack Obama is inheriting a host of problems unlike those faced by almost any other incoming President. He is in the process of putting together a core group around him to help us navigate through waters that are turbulent and polluted. Almost everywhere he turns, there is trouble. In the darkest and worst of times, the best and brightest are most needed.

For his passionate support of the environment for the past quarter of a century, for his clear intellectual capacity, for the emotional lift that the pairing of the Kennedys' with this administration can give to all who are so badly in need of positives, Robert Kennedy Jr. would seem to be a perfect fit for the head of the EPA. After enduring 8 years of cronyism and selections for critical posts that were predicated on anything but qualifications, we are more than ready to turn the page. The choice of Robert Kennedy Jr. by Barack Obama would signal the beginning of that new era.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Robert Kennedy Jr would make a wonderful choice to head the EPA. Imagine a White House and the EPA actually working together to begin to tackle the enormous challenges of cleaning up the global environment. Nancy