Democrat Joseph P. Kennedy III ’09 has been elected to fill the Massachusetts congressional seat left vacant by the retirement of U.S. Representative Barney Frank ’77. The 32-year-old candidate won a decisive victory over Republican Sean Bielat in the redrawn 4th Congressional District.

When Kennedy gave his acceptance speech on election night, Frank was present. “I promise to do everything I can to pick up the mantle where you left off,” Kennedy said.

Before entering the race, Kennedy worked as an assistant district attorney for Middlesex County, Massachusetts, prosecuting a wide variety of misdemeanors and felonies.

At Harvard Law School, he was an active member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, advocating for tenants being forced out of their homes as banks foreclosed on delinquent landlords in the midst of the financial crisis. In Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, he co-founded an afterschool program for at-risk youth with his HLS classmate and fiancée Lauren Birchfield ’09.

After graduating from Stanford University, Kennedy served in the Dominican Republic in the Peace Corps, the program established by his great-uncle President John F. Kennedy 51 years ago.