Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Honored by:The Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics
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Spring 2006 Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics

*On March 29, 2006, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend presented the lecture "Gender and Executive Leadership: Are We Ready for a Woman President?"

The eldest child of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, Townsend served two terms as Maryland's lieutenant governor from 1995 to 2003. She narrowly lost a bid to become Maryland's first woman governor in 2002.

Upon taking office in 1995, Townsend made a national name for herself as an advocate of victims’ rights and an innovator in the fight against crime. She served as chair of the Maryland Cabinet Council on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, and in that capacity, developed the first statewide initiative in the nation that targets crime hotspots that was praised by former Attorney General Reno as a national model.

As lieutenant governor, Townsend was at the forefront on issues such as quality education and healthcare. Every step of the way she has sought to draw citizens into the process and remained focused on getting results. Before becoming lieutenant governor, Townsend served as deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice, during which time she worked to establish community-policing programs across the country.

Townsend is the founder of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, the former chair of the board of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation, and serves on the Board of Directors of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. She is author of the book "Failing America’s Faithful: How Today’s Churches Are Mixing God with Politics and Losing Their Way" and has published articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Washington Monthly. She is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Public Policy, and has been a visiting fellow at the Kennedy School of Government where she focused her efforts on faith and public life. In 2010 Townsend was appointed chair of American Bridge, a non-profit organization that raises funds for Democratic candidates and causes.

Townsend is a cum laude graduate of Harvard University and a graduate of the University of New Mexico Law School.

For more information on Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, please visit www.kathleenkennedytownsend.com.