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Tim Kennedy (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tim Kennedy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 26th district
Assumed office
May 6, 2024
Preceded byBrian Higgins
Member of the New York State Senate
In office
January 1, 2011 – May 6, 2024
Preceded byWilliam Stachowski
Succeeded byVacant
Constituency58th district (2011–2013)
63rd district (2013–2024)
Personal details
Timothy Martin Kennedy

(1976-10-20) October 20, 1976 (age 47)
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationD'Youville University (BS, MS)
WebsiteHouse website

Timothy Martin Kennedy (born October 20, 1976)[1] is an American politician who is the U.S. representative for New York's 26th congressional district. A member of the Democratic Party, he was elected in the April 2024 special election to finish the remainder of Brian Higgins's term in the 118th United States Congress. Before that, he served in the New York State Senate from 2011 to 2024.

Early life and education

Kennedy was raised in South Buffalo, one of five children of Martin F. and Mary Kennedy. His father worked as Buffalo's commissioner of assessment and taxation, and his mother is a retired nurse who taught nursing at D'Youville University.[2][3] He received his early education at St. Martin's Elementary School, and attended St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute. He earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in occupational therapy from D'Youville University.[4]

Early career

From 1999 to 2010, Kennedy worked as a licensed occupational therapist at Catholic Health.[4][5]

Erie County Legislature

In late 2004, at the age of 28, Kennedy was appointed to the Erie County Legislature, representing the 2nd district, after Mark J. F. Schroeder was elected to the State Assembly.[6]

In 2005, Kennedy defeated Democratic primary opponent Paul Sullivan by a vote of 65% to 35%.[7] He won 72% of the vote in the general election against his Republican opponent, Julieanne Mazurkiewicz.[8]

In 2007, Kennedy ran unopposed for a second full term to the Erie County Legislature.[9]

New York State Senate



In 2010, Kennedy challenged incumbent William Stachowski for the Democratic nomination for the 58th district in the New York State Senate.[10] Kennedy also earned the endorsement of the Conservative Party,[11] which had previously supported Stachowski.[12] Stachowski was one of eight Democratic state senators who had voted against a bill allowing same-sex marriage in New York, while Kennedy supported it, earning him the backing of gay rights organizations in the primary.[13][14] Kennedy ultimately defeated Stachowski by a margin of 63% to 26%.[15] amid a wave of anti-incumbent voter sentiment.[11] Stachowski remained on the ballot on the Independence Party and Working Families Party lines.[16]

In the 2010 general election, Kennedy defeated Republican Assemblyman Jack Quinn III,[17] gaining 47% of the vote to Quinn's 45%. The remaining votes went to Stachowski.[18]


Seeking reelection in 2012, Kennedy won a primary challenge from Democrat Betty Jean Grant, prevailing by 156 votes.[19] The closeness of the election prompted a protracted court battle heard by Justice Joseph R. Glownia of the State Supreme Court.[20] Kennedy ran uncontested in the November 2012 general election and was re-elected.[21]


In 2014, Kennedy defeated Grant in a Democratic primary rematch, receiving 16,660 votes (60.2%) to Grant's 10,997 votes (39.8%).[22] The race received much attention, with campaign spending by the candidates and outside groups surpassing $1 million.[23] Kennedy received the backing of the New York State United Teachers and realtors, while Grant received the Erie County Democratic Committee endorsement[24] and help from the Independent Democratic Conference, a breakaway group of state Senate Democrats who sided with Republicans in the Senate.[23] Kennedy's base of support was South Buffalo, Lackawanna, and Cheektowaga, while Grant's base of support was Buffalo's East Side.[25]

In the November 2014 general election, Kennedy (who ran on the Democratic, Working Families, and Independence ballot lines) defeated Ricky T. Donovan, Sr. (who ran on the Republican and Conservative ballot lines). Out of 59,094 total votes, Kennedy received 42,278 (71.5%), while Donovan received 11,973 (20.3%).[26]


In the 2016 general election, Kennedy ran unopposed on the Democratic, Working Families, Independence, and Women's Equality ballot lines and received 89,650 votes.[27]


In 2018, Kennedy defeated Shaqurah Zachery in a Democratic primary, winning 23,640 (76.6%) of the vote.[28] He ran unopposed in the general election.[29]


Kennedy speaking on a resolution to remember the victims of the 2022 Buffalo shooting on May 10, 2023

In 2011, Kennedy voted in favor of the Marriage Equality Act, which legalized same-sex marriage in New York.[30][31] Kennedy lost the support of the Conservative Party in 2012 following his vote on the marriage issue.[32]

Also in 2011, Kennedy authored Jay-J's Law, which sought to stiffen penalties for repeat child abusers by increasing the look back period in which someone can be charged with aggravated assault. The bill was named after Jay-J Bolvin, a young boy who suffered 11 fractured bones, a severe seizure disorder and developmental delays as a result of a severe beating from his father, who had previously been convicted of assaulting one of his other sons. The bill was passed by the legislature and later signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in July 2013.[33]

In 2012, Kennedy introduced a package of four bills to combat the opioid epidemic in New York. One of the bills would create a prescription-monitoring system for physicians and pharmacists to track the prescription of narcotic painkillers. This proposal was made by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.[34]

In 2013, Kennedy cast a procedural vote for the tenth point of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Women's Equality Act, which would have expanded abortion rights in New York. In February 2014, Kennedy acknowledged that his position on abortion had "evolved" and that he supported the tenth point of the Women's Equality Act; he added, "'I believe at the end of the day that a woman has to be able to make a decision upon her health, her life and her family that is in her best interests and their best interests'". Pro-choice groups praised his shift on the issue,[32] while Bishop Richard Malone of the Buffalo diocese of the Roman Catholic Church criticized him for it.[35] In 2019, Kennedy voted in favor of the Reproductive Health Act,[36] which was described by The Buffalo News as "the most sweeping set of protections to the state’s abortion laws in 49 years".[37]

In 2013, Kennedy co-sponsored legislation to increase the state minimum wage to $9 an hour, and automatically adjust the minimum wage to account for cost-of-living increases.[38]

In May 2013, Kennedy introduced a Jackie's Law into the Senate, which was prompted by the death of West Seneca woman Jackie Wisniewski, who was killed after being stalked by a former boyfriend using a GPS tracking device on her car. Kennedy's bill updated New York's stalking statutes by allowing police to pursue criminal charges against those who use electronic tracking devices to stalk victims. Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes sponsored companion legislation in the Assembly. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law in July 2014.[39]

In 2014, Kennedy introduced legislation that would limit the state's legal immunity for claims for damages. The legislation would specifically amend Section 58 of the State Highway Law, which immunizes the state from "liability for damages arising from defects in its highways" during cold-weather months. The bill proposed by Kennedy "would allow motorists to seek damages from the state for 'egregious or unreasonable' defects year-round or when it was given prior notice of a defect."[40] State Assemblyman Thomas J. Abinanti filed companion legislation in the State Assembly.[40]

Kennedy speaking at the launch of voluntary COVID-19 screening program for MTA employees on October 27, 2020

Kennedy has been a supporter of the legalization of mixed martial arts (MMA) in New York, which at the time was the only U.S. state to bar MMA events.[41] Kennedy argued that MMA could economically benefit Western New York, with events at First Niagara Center in Buffalo benefiting local businesses.[42] The legal status of MMA had been a state political issue for years; the state Senate passed legalization legislation seven times over six years, but the bills were not taken up by the State Assembly. Kennedy expressed disappointment at the failure to pass the legislation in 2015,[41] and welcomed passage of MMA legislation in 2016.[42]

In 2017, Kennedy supported legalizing vehicle for hire companies in all areas of New York State.[43]

When the Democratic Party won the majority in the State Senate in 2018, Kennedy was appointed chair of the New York State Senate Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capital Investment Committee.[44] He also serves on the Finance, Rules, Energy & Telecommunications, Insurance, Banks, and Social Services Committees.[4]

In his first year chairing of the Senate Transportation Committee, Kennedy secured $100 million for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) Buffalo Metro Rail System.[45] Kennedy was one of the main players in getting a new Amtrak Buffalo–Exchange Street station built.

U.S. House of Representatives

2024 special election

On November 14, 2023, Kennedy announced that he would run for the soon-to-be vacated congressional seat held at the time by Brian Higgins.[46] He won the election on April 30, 2024, defeating Republican nominee Gary Dickson.[47]

Finance concerns

In 2023, Kennedy's state campaign committee spent nearly $1.5 million on political advertisements and consultants—more than double what Kennedy spent on his two previous re-election campaigns combined,[48] despite not being up for re-election in 2023.[49] This state political campaign spending spike raised concerns about potential violations of federal election law after Kennedy announced his candidacy for New York's 26th congressional district on November 14, 2023 following announcements that Higgins would resign from his seat in early 2024.[46] Over $1 million of Kennedy's 2023 state campaign expenditures came after July, when rumors of Higgins’ impending departure began circulating.[50]

Under federal law, using state campaign funds to support someone's candidacy for federal office is illegal, as federal campaign finance laws are more strict than state campaign finance laws.[48][50] The concern was that Kennedy's state campaign spending, if aimed at furthering his federal congressional ambitions, might violate these federal regulations. Despite Kennedy's reassurances of compliance, he faces an impending investigation by the Federal Election Commission after the filing of a complaint outlining alleged federal campaign finance violations.[50]

Personal life

Kennedy lives in Buffalo with his wife Katie and their three children.[5]

He is Roman Catholic[35] and has Irish heritage.[51]


  1. ^ "Tim Kennedy". Retrieved March 2, 2024.
  2. ^ "Buffalo, NY". Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  3. ^ "D'Youville College Directory Detail Results". Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "About Timothy M. Kennedy". Retrieved February 14, 2024.
  5. ^ a b "Timothy Kennedy's Biography". Vote Smart.
  6. ^ Precious, Tom (January 2, 2019). "Tim Kennedy: From South Buffalo roots to Albany power broker". The Buffalo News. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  7. ^ "Erie County Board of Elections" (PDF). [dead link]
  8. ^ "Erie County Board of Elections 2005 General Election Results" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Erie County Board of Elections 2007 General Election Results" (PDF).
  10. ^ Jimmy Vielkind, "Kennedy, the non-Stachowski", Albany Times Union (September 14, 2010).
  11. ^ a b Stephen T. Watson, "Kennedy wrests nod from Stachowski", Buffalo News (September 15, 2010).
  12. ^ Schindler, Paul (August 3, 2010). "Top Gay Groups See Choice in Buffalo". Gay City News. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013.
  13. ^ "Splits Among Gay Political Activists Rankle Efforts To Flip Seats", The Capitol (October 18, 2010).
  14. ^ Julie Bolcer, "Antigay Democrat defeated by Tim Kennedy", The Advocate (September 14, 2010).
  15. ^ Matt Krueger, "Kennedy ousts Stachowski", Cheektowaga Bee (September 19, 2010)
  16. ^ Staff (October 5, 2010). "Stachowski presence hinders Kennedy". Buffalo News.
  17. ^ "Kennedy tops Quinn in $3 million race". The Buffalo News. November 3, 2010.
  18. ^ "New York State Legislature - Election Results 2010". The New York Times.
  19. ^ "Erie County Board of Elections 2012 Democratic Primary Results" (PDF).
  20. ^ Nancy A. Fischer, "Betty Jean Grant makes it official: She's running for mayor", Buffalo News (April 23, 2017).
  21. ^ "2012 Election Results: New York State Legislature". The New York Times.
  22. ^ "New York State Board of Elections 2014 Primary Election Results" (PDF).
  23. ^ a b Susan Schulman, "Kennedy-Grant Senate race gains attention, cash from outside groups", Buffalo News (September 6, 2014).
  24. ^ "Erie County Democrats Rallying Behind Incumbents For State Senate". Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  25. ^ McCarthy, Robert J. (September 10, 2014). "Kennedy defeats Grant for second time". The Buffalo News.
  26. ^ Senate Election Returns November 4, 2014 Archived December 27, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, New York State Board of Elections, p. 14.
  27. ^ Senate Election Returns November 8, 2016 Archived September 21, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, New York State Board of Elections, p. 35.
  28. ^ "- Erie County Board of Elections" (PDF).
  29. ^ "Erie County Board of Elections 2018 General Election Results" (PDF).
  30. ^ "Grisanti vote helps gay marriage bill pass New York state Senate". Niagara Gazette. June 24, 2011.
  31. ^ Confessore, Nicholas; Barbaro, Michael (June 25, 2011). "New York Allows Same-Sex Marriage, Becoming Largest State to Pass Law" – via
  32. ^ a b McCarthy, Robert J. (February 15, 2014). "Kennedy's 'evolution' to pro-choice stance earns praise, criticism". The Buffalo News.
  33. ^ "Governor Cuomo Signs Jay-J's Law to Toughen Penalties for Child Abusers" (Press release). Andrew M. Cuomo. September 28, 2014.
  34. ^ Kleinfield, N. R. (January 11, 2012). "Oxycodone Prescriptions Rose Sharply in New York, Schneiderman Report Says". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  35. ^ a b McCarthy, Robert J. (March 9, 2014). "Anti-abortion ads on radio taking graphic aim at Kennedy's pro-choice stance". The Buffalo News.
  36. ^ "NY State Senate Bill S240". NY State Senate. January 2, 2019.
  37. ^ Precious, Tom (January 22, 2019). "Long-stalled abortion bill passes New York Legislature". The Buffalo News.
  38. ^ Glynn, Matt (February 25, 2013). "Minimum wage rally frames proposed increase in human terms". The Buffalo News.
  39. ^ "Governor Cuomo Signs Jackie's Law, Authored by Senator Kennedy and Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes, to Crack Down on GPS Stalking and Domestic Violence" (Press release). New York State Senate. July 23, 2014.
  40. ^ a b Roberts, Sam (April 29, 2014). "Taking On a Pothole Law: In Winter, New York State Rejects Drivers' Claims". The New York Times.
  41. ^ a b Spector, Joseph (June 26, 2015). "MMA bill will wait until next year". The Journal News.
  42. ^ a b Schneider, Avery (January 26, 2016). "MMA and its possible economic benefits get one step closer to being legal in New York, again". WBFO. Buffalo, NY. Retrieved February 14, 2024.
  43. ^ Pignataro, T.J. (April 8, 2017). "You bet your app: Ride hailing upstate may debut by July 4". Buffalo News.
  44. ^ Precious, Tom (December 11, 2018). "Tim Kennedy gets key state Senate committee post". The Buffalo News. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  45. ^ Precious, Tom (March 31, 2019). "State budget talks result in $100M for Metro Rail improvements". The Buffalo News. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  46. ^ a b Specht, Charlie (November 14, 2023). "Tim Kennedy announces candidacy to succeed Brian Higgins in Congress". The Buffalo News.
  47. ^ Joly, Aidan (April 30, 2024). "AP: Tim Kennedy declared winner in NY-26 special election". WIVB-TV. Retrieved April 30, 2024.
  48. ^ a b Kelly, Geoff (January 25, 2024). "All Tim Kennedy's Money". Investigative Post.
  49. ^ "Timothy M. Kennedy". Retrieved February 14, 2024.
  50. ^ a b c Zremski, Jerry (February 5, 2024). "Kennedy is running for Congress but spending down his state campaign account". The Buffalo News.
  51. ^ Kennedy, Tim (March 18, 2024). "If you know me, you know celebrating my Irish heritage isn't just dedicated to one day a year. This past weekend was something special though - a proper Buffalo OFW parade with our incredible team, followed by a St. Patrick's Day commemoration at the @whitehouse. Sláinte!". Instagram. Instagram. Retrieved May 1, 2024.

External links

New York State Senate
Preceded by Member of the New York State Senate
from the 58th district

Succeeded by
New constituency Member of the New York State Senate
from the 63rd district

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 26th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 14 June 2024, at 21:11
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