Another Kennedy jumps into politics

Former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy, right, talks with William Kennedy Smith, center, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011, before the start of a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech. William Kennedy Smith's mother, Jean Kennedy Smith, is at left. AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

A member of the famed Kennedy clan is looking to enter the D.C. political scene, albeit at a very low level.

William Kennedy Smith, daughter of Jean Kennedy Smith and nephew to JFK, RFK and Ted Kennedy, is on the ballot in for a Washington, D.C., Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) post, the Washington Post reports. The officerepresents a small portion of D.C. that includes the Kennedy Center and the famed Watergate Complex where the break-in that spawned the Watergate investigation occurred.

Kennedy lives in one of the Watergate apartment buildings, but says he is not necessarily seeking a political career.

"I think of it as service," he told the Post. "I've done a lot of different things internationally, and I've been involved in grass-roots activities in a lot of different capacities. . . . I just felt it was a good thing to do."

The ANC has no actual authority in D.C. and is staffed by unpaid residents who advise the city government on issues like liquor licenses and zoning petitions. Smith will face local lawyer Thomas Martin, who lives in the area.

Smith garnered national attention in 1991 when he was accused of raping a woman in Palm Beach, Fla., at the age of 30. He was ultimately acquitted. In 2004, a former personal assistant alleged he sexually assaulted her in 1999, but a judgethrew out the civil lawsuit she filed against him.

Smith is following in the footsteps of several of his cousins who have dabbled in politics, including his cousin, former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., who was with Smith and Patrick's father, Ted Kennedy, on the night of the alleged rape in 1991.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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