Kennedy family members make campaign stop in Union County
The son and daughter of a Democratic Party candidate for governor of Illinois paid a campaign visit to Union County last week.
Chris Kennedy Jr. and his sister, Kate, were welcomed by about 20 people during a stop at the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds in Jonesboro.
He is the son of Chris Kennedy, who is running for governor in the 2018 Illinois primary.
The candidate is the son of Ethel Skakel Kennedy and the late U.S. Sen. Robert Francis Kennedy.
Chris Kennedy Jr. addressed those who gathered in a shelter at the picnic grounds.
Kennedy talked about his father’s background and addressed some of the key issues facing Illinois in the 2018 election.
He also heard some straightforward comments from several area residents who want to make sure that Southern Illinois is remembered by the candidates at election time.
Kennedy addressed such issues as the important role education plays in Illinois’ growth and the ongoing budget crisis in the state. He said that Gov. Bruce Rauner is “holding us hostage” when it comes to the state budget.
After hearing concerns from several of those in attendance at the event, Kennedy assured them that his father would visit Southern Illinois during the campaign.
The gubernatorial candidate’s website shares that Chris Kennedy and his wife, Sheila, run Top Box Foods, a hunger-relief non-profit they founded to deliver high-quality, healthy, affordable foods to underserved neighborhoods.
Previously, he served as chairman of the board of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which was described as “the nation’s leading non-profit food distribution and training center, which provides food to more than 600,000 adults and children each year.”
Kennedy managed the Merchandise Mart. As president of the mart, he worked with governmental agencies, labor groups and independent small businesses to bring companies jobs to Illinois.
Kennedy now is leading a real estate development in downtown Chicago known as Wolf Point. Wolf Point is a massive construction project backed by more than $1 billion in private financing that is bringing 2,000 construction and permanent jobs to Illinois.
Earlier in his career, he worked for Archer Daniels Midland, a leader of Illinois’ agricultural industry and one of the largest corporations in the state.
He serves on the board of multiple large manufacturing companies and investment funds. He earned an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
From 2009 through 2015, he served as chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.
Carrying on a family tradition, Kennedy has been a lifelong advocate of rights for persons with disabilities.
He is a longtime supporter of Special Olympics Chicago and Special Olympics Illinois as well as Best Buddies International, an organization promoting social and employment inclusion of people with developmental disabilities.
He and his wife, Shelia, have been married for 29 years. They live in suburban Chicago, where they raised four children.