Caroline Kennedy’s resume

January 9, 2009

I just read a thought-provoking op-ed piece on The Huffington Post.  Written by Karen Matthews, the article resurrects the old debate about the value of work performed by women inside or outside the home.

Why has this topic surfaced again?  Caroline Kennedy.  The daughter of President John F. Kennedy, Caroline is now seeking to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton.

Some say Caroline Kennedy is unqualified for the post because she hasn’t paid her dues the in the traditional political way: serving first in the New York legislature…then moving up to the U.S. House of Representatives…and only then making a bid for a U.S. Senate seat.

Instead, her name surfaced for the position…and the debate began.

I don’t believe that some are opposing Kennedy only because of her celebrity.  After all, famous men like actor Ronald Reagan, basketball star Bill Bradley and astronaut John Glenn, Jr., have used their celebrity status to launch political careers without the usual time paying their dues.

No.  I believe the issue is that, until this past election season, Kennedy has lived a quiet, private life as a stay-at-home mom — an unpaid job if you watch your own kids…but a paid position if you do the same job for someone else.  And during that time Kennedy has acted as an advocate for public education in the State of New York, helping to attract tens of millions of dollars for that cause — an  unpaid job if you work as a volunteer…but a paid position if you do the same job on K Street in Washington, DC.

“There’s this idea that because she hasn’t been working for pay, that the skills she’s accrued are somehow worth less,” says sociologist Pamela Stone in the Huff Po article.

Kennedy is a law-abiding United States citizen and a lifelong resident of the state with the vacant Senate seat.  She has earned a law degree.  She is the author of several books.  She meets all the Constitutional standards to become a United States Senator.

It may be easy for the American public to overlook the accomplishments of a woman who has worked as a stay-at-home mom and volunteered for worthy causes — even when that woman has a famous last name.

But if anyone can help America acknowledge the worth of  all contributions to society — paid or unpaid — then perhaps it’s Caroline Kennedy.


P.S.  I thought this follow-up article about Caroline Kennedy was very telling.



  1. Bravo, Cindy. My sentiments exactly. I believe there are others — quite a few — who’ve earned seats in the Senate with fewer creds than Caroline Kennedy. I always admired how she managed to steer clear of the media madness that others (who are less famous than she is) seem to crave. Caroline Kennedy has managed her work and family with class and dignity. So rare in politics these days!

  2. Yes, I agree that Caroline Kennedy has shown lots of class and dignity over the years. By the way, did you see the interview she gave in Florida with grade-school journalist Damon Weaver? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_SliWNgVZE

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