- Associated Press - Monday, July 21, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy has endorsed Providence Mayor Angel Taveras in the race for Rhode Island governor.

Kennedy said he’s impressed that the one-term Democratic mayor has made early childhood education a centerpiece of his campaign by proposing universal prekindergarten for all 4-year-olds.

“I’m just impressed by the fact that he’s made this very important issue the apex of his campaign, yet there isn’t any payoff other than that it’s the right thing to do,” Kennedy told The Associated Press.

Taveras faces General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and former Obama administration official Clay Pell, grandson of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell, in the Sept. 9 primary.

Kennedy called them both good people, and said he loved Claiborne Pell and feels a sense of loyalty to the Pell family. But he said Taveras is the right person for the job.

He also took swipes at both candidates, saying the next governor would not “be able to sprinkle a Wall Street solution or a celebrity solution” on the state’s problems. Pell is married to figure skater Michelle Kwan, and Taveras has tried to paint Raimondo as having a cozy relationship with Wall Street.

Kennedy represented Rhode Island in Congress for 16 years, and left the job in 2011. He later moved to New Jersey and started a family with his wife, Amy, a schoolteacher.

He was to hold a fundraiser for Taveras on Monday evening in Newark, New Jersey.

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