Caroline Kennedy. Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Having a surname that is known the world over can certainly have its advantages; it can also however come with a lot of pressure, expectations and assumptions. Caroline Kennedy has chosen to ignore the downsides of being a part of a political dynasty and has herself entered politics. And despite it being four years away she is reportedly aiming for a seat in the White House.

Caroline Kennedy spent the first few years of her life in the White House before her father’s assassination. After, her mother, Jackie Kennedy, worked tirelessly to protect her children from the media spotlight. They managed to have a somewhat normal life away from scandal and Caroline was a particularly strong student. She went on to earn a law degree from Colombia University. Published in 1991, In Our Defence: The Bill of Rights in Action was the first book she co-wrote.

The following year she turned down the chance to become chair of the Democratic Convention. Despite being a member of one of the most famous political families in the United States of America she had never shown any real interest in entering politics herself. Instead she focused on charity work and had her second book published in 1995. Her feelings changed after the death of her mother and brother, and in 2000 she spoke at the Democratic National Convention. She wrote and edited a series of books throughout the 2000s before rumours began circulating about a possible entry into politics. Hillary Clinton’s 2008 run for the White House left her New York Senate seat vacant. Caroline was one of the early favourites to run for the seat but dropped out for ‘personal reasons’.

In 2013 she was chosen by President Obama to be the first female US Ambassador to Japan, a role she held until January 2017. This role was important for both Caroline and Japan. Japanese politics has been traditionally dominated by men; speaking about her time there Caroline said, “I just think being a woman ambassador, and I think visible women in positions of leadership, does help change attitudes,” During her time in Japan she toured regions devastated by the 2011 tsunami. She also spoke at numerous women’s equality events and played a key role in organising President Obama’s 2016 visit to Hiroshima.

Since her return to the United States rumours have swirled about her next move. Several people have spoken about a possible Presidential bid for 2020. If she is to stay in politics the most likely path she will take is to run for a seat in New York, either in the House or the Senate (the same seat her uncle Robert Kennedy held). With her experience as an ambassador, the power of her influential surname, as well as vast personal wealth, she has all the tools needed to continue on the family legacy.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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