Oral history interview with J. Keith Kennedy [Sound Recording 01]

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Oral history interview with J. Keith Kennedy [Sound Recording 01]


  • 1988-06-08 (Creation)


Audiocassette; 00:30:46

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Biographical history

James Keith Kennedy was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1948. He attended Duke Divinity School in North Carolina, graduating in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in history. He continued at Duke for his graduate work. He was an intern for U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield from 1972 to 1973. He returned to Duke to finish his master's degree in divinity in 1973, then rejoined Hatfield's staff in 1974 as a legislative assistant. He served in that role until 1977, when he became a staff member on the Select Committee on Indian Affairs. He was staff director of the Senate Appropriations Committee from 1981 to 2006, and served briefly as the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms from 2003 to 2005. In 1988, he and Patricia Creagan were married. He became a senior public policy advisor for Baker, Donelson et al. in 2006.

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Tape 1, Side 1. This oral history interview with J. Keith Kennedy was conducted by Jim Strassmaier in Kennedy’s office on June 8, 1988. In this interview, Kennedy discusses his family background and early life in Charlotte, North Carolina. He talks about his college education at Duke University in North Carolina, including influential professors. He then talks about interning for U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield from 1972 to 1973, writing speeches, researching issues and political opponents, and assisting Wes Michaelson. He discusses Hatfield’s 1972 re-election campaign against Wayne Morse, and Hatfield’s opposition to the Vietnam War, as well as Hatfield’s feelings about President Richard Nixon’s impeachment. He then discusses working as a legislative assistant for Hatfield from 1974 to 1977. Next, he speaks about his work on the Select Committee on Indian Affairs from 1977 to 1981, and on the Senate Appropriations Committee from 1981 to the time of this interview in 1988. Kennedy talks about Hatfield’s legislative agenda and stance on some controversial issues, including the draft. He also talks about other members of Hatfield’s staff, including Frank Cook. Kennedy closes the interview by discussing Hatfield’s personality and spirituality, as well as Hatfield’s relationship with his fellow legislators.

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Joint copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society, Willamette University, and J. Keith Kennedy. Use is allowed according to the following statement: In Copyright – Non-Commercial Use Permitted: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-NC/1.0/

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  • English

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42.3 MiB


April 8, 2020 2:34 PM

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