NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A famed Kennedy showed up in Nacogdoches with Lyle Lovett's bag following a shared airplane ride. When Lovett found out Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is in Nacogdoches, he started telling her what a great place she's visiting. It was just another day in the life of a Kennedy.
Townsend will be a guest lecturer at Stephen F. Austin State University this week.
In the public eye, there's a lack of awareness about Townsend's personal accomplishments. Instead the former Lt. Governor of Maryland and former US deputy assistant attorney general is known for who she's related to. A reminder came to her at 12 years old when she received a letter from her father following her uncle Jack's, President Kennedy's, tragic death.
"Dear Kathleen, you seem to understand Jack died and was buried today," Townsend said, reading from the letter. "As the oldest Kennedy grandchildren you have a special responsibility. Be kind to others and take care of your family, work hard for your country, love, Daddy."
At age 17, the horror struck again as Townsend's father, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. The letter from her father meant more than ever.
"There's clearly been some very, very tough times, but as you know from your friends and your readings, every family has tough times," Townsend said.
During her guest lecture series, Townsend will offer fresh reflections on her years of public service in hopes that the young people will "get involved, get engaged, politics is where the action is and it's interesting and it's fun."
"I obviously came from a family that taught me that, but a lot of kids don't know that, and I want them to know they can," Townsend said.
Messages on social welfare, immigration, and social policy are Townsends' speaking points for the next week.