Feb. 8 (UPI) — Businessman Chris Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy, announced plans to run for Illinois governor Wednesday.
Kennedy, 53, is the eighth of 11 children of Robert and Ethel Kennedy.
“We have a tough task ahead: taking on a billionaire governor and then tackling the mess he has created in our state,” the Democrat said on his website.
The cash-strapped state has been without a budget for 19 months.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has not announced a run for a second term in 2018 but recently deposited $50 million into his own campaign account, Politico reported.
Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar became the first announced Democrat to run for governor, but several other members of the party are considering a run — including another Chicago businessman, J.B. Pritzker, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“Mike Madigan has already endorsed Chris Kennedy’s run because he knows that Kennedy will never stand up to him. Chris Kennedy secretly met with Madigan this summer to kiss his ring and get Madigan’s blessing,” the Illinois GOP said in a statement.
Kennedy formerly managed the Merchandise Mart, which was owned for more than 50 by the Kennedy family until 1998. He is now involved in real estate development at the Wolf Point project in Chicago.
“I know how an economy is meant to function, not just for the rich, but for members of all communities. Together, we can fix the mess and restore the promise of our state,” Kennedy said.
He has an undergraduate degree from Boston College and a master of business administration degree from Northwestern University.
From 2009 through 2015, Chris served as chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.