Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, Caroline Kennedy said she would be “humbled” to carry on the legacy of her father if she is confirmed to be the next U.S. ambassador to Japan.
“I am conscious of my responsibility to uphold the ideals he represented — a deep commitment to public service, a more just America and a more peaceful world,” Kennedy said as she testified before the committee her father served on as a senator. “As a World War II veteran who served in the Pacific, he had hoped to be the first sitting president to make a state visit to Japan. If confirmed as ambassador, I would be humbled to carry forward his legacy in a small way and represent the powerful bonds that unite our two democratic societies.”
President Obama nominated Kennedy, a 55-year-old author and attorney to the diplomatic post in July. If confirmed, she would become the first female U.S. ambassador to Japan in U.S. history.
Kennedy encountered gentle questioning from senators as they recognized her commitment to promoting her family’s philosophy and legacy.
“You represent a legacy of the best and brightest in politics, and a time in our history when we stood at the confluence of intellectualism and a respect for public service and government,” Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., chairman of the committee, said.
“It’s important for the country to actually see you giving and asking not what your country can do for you but asking what you can do for your country. Our country, and all of us really appreciate it,” Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said.
“I doubt you’re going to get much of hard time today for lots of reasons,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., ranking member on the committee, said.
Members of the Kennedy clan joined her at the hearing, including Vicki Kennedy, wife of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, and Rep. Joe Kennedy, III, who began serving in the House of Representatives this year.
“I’m also sure that her father, mother, uncles and extended family are looking down with pride upon this hearing,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said as he introduced her.
Kennedy gave Obama’s presidential campaign a major boost when she endorsed the Illinois senator in the 2008 presidential campaign. Kennedy was once considered a leading contender for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat when she became Secretary of State. Kennedy ultimately withdrew from consideration due to a “private family matter.”