Above, Long Hwa-shu with Christopher Kennedy at Highland Park Country Club in 2015. He predicted Kennedy’s bid for governor. – Tina Johansson photos
by Long Hwa-shu
My prediction of Christopher Kennedy’s decision to run for Illinois governor came true.
After meeting him at a symposium on food insecurity at which he was the keynote speaker in Highland Park two years ago, I told my wife, “Just wait! He’s going to run for governor one of these days.”
It happened sooner than I thought. Kennedy, the son of the late Robert Kennedy, announced last Wednesday that he will run for governor to unseat Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner calling the state “in worse shape” under him. The state, he said, needs drastic changes “to restore the American dream to the people of this state.”
With a thicket of graying blonde hair, and an easy toothy smile, Kennedy, 53, reminiscently resembles his late father who was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1968 election. He is also the nephew of President J.F. Kennedy.
Kennedy, who lives in Kenilworth, a wealthy north suburb close to Winnetka where Gov. Rauner hails from, founded Top Box Foods, a non-profit hunger relief organization based in Chicago, with his wife, Sheila, in April 2012. The organization enables the needy to purchase nutritious food at affordable prices – 40 to 70 percent off from grocery stores.
The fact it is not a giveaway, he noted, enables the purchasers to maintain their dignity. In Lake County, Top Box has reached the needy in Waukegan, North Chicago, Round Lake and Zion.
At the symposium in Highland Park, he pointed out eloquently that despite the fact that America is the land of plenty, enormous economic segregation has continued to exist. Many poor children, he said, are held back for lack of access to nutritious food. He called for communities to take the lead in fighting hunger.
Although Kennedy heads Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises Inc., the Kennedy family investment firm, I felt then at the meeting that with his famous family name and social concerns he was going to get into politics sooner or later. It was a relief I predicted correctly. By the way, I also predicted early on that Donald Trump would win the presidency, as I said to my wife.
Kennedy has a master’s degree in management from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and he formerly managed the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, part of the family fortune.
Long Hwa-shu is publisher of theYOUjournal