The Kennedy family is an American political family that has long been prominent in American politics, public service, entertainment and business. The first Kennedy elected to public office was Patrick Joseph "P. J." Kennedy in 1884, 35 years after the family's arrival from Ireland. He served in the Massachusetts state legislature from 1884 to 1895. At least one Kennedy family member served in federal elective office in every year from 1947, when P.J. Kennedy's grandson, John F. Kennedy, became a member of Congress from Massachusetts; to 2011, when P.J. Kennedy's great-grandson, Patrick J. Kennedy, retired as a member of Congress from Rhode Island, a span of 64 years.
The descendants of P.J.'s son, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy include a president of the United States (who had also served in both houses of Congress), a U.S. attorney general (who later served in the U.S. Senate), four other members of the United States House of Representatives or Senate, and two U.S. ambassadors, a lieutenant governor, three state legislators (one of whom went on to the U.S. House of Representatives), and one mayor.
In addition, Joseph Sr. and Rose's daughter, Eunice, founded the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (a part of the National Institutes of Health), and founded the Special Olympics. Eunice's daughter Maria Shriver served as First Lady of California. Other descendants of Joseph and Rose Kennedy have been active as lawyers, authors, and activists on behalf of those with physical and intellectual challenges.