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  Kennedy, John
NameJohn Kennedy
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania , United States
Born March 22, 1938 (84 years)
Last ModifedMr. Matt
Jul 24, 2020 11:19pm
InfoJohn Kennedy hails from working class, Irish-American stock in Youngstown, Ohio. After high school graduation and a short stint at college, he began a career in the rail industry as a track laborer. With advanced night math classes, he mastered the tools of a rail surveyor.

He would interrupt his budding career by enlisting and serving in the Army. After “saving up dimes” for seven years, John invested his “vast $2,000 fortune” into the founding of Kennedy Railroad Builders in Harrisburg in the summer of 1965. A year later he would marry, and during the years that followed add five children and ten grandchildren to the family roster.

In 1980, John successfully ran for the first of four terms in the Pennsylvania General Assembly on a pro-growth economic reform platform. But his eight years in public life were defined by what Harrisburg’s Patriot-News called “pounding away for internal reform that is essential to restore public faith in the Legislature as an institution of integrity and accountability.” His call for a Constitutional Convention on reform led to the creation of Citizens for the Commonwealth, a non-profit, taxpayer advocacy group that enlisted some 4,000 members.

In 1988, John kept a public commitment to the idea of the citizen legislature. After four terms, he returned to his private railroad business “making payrolls, creating jobs and sending tax revenue to the state treasury.”

In 1998, Kennedy Railroad Builders was melted into group of nationwide railroad building contractors, creating Railworks Corp., one of the largest track and transit providers in North America. While officially retired from his private business, he informally advises his three sons, keepers of the Kennedy love affair with rail.

In 2006, John Kennedy re-emerged to publicly speak out against the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s decision to approve illegal pay increases for lawmakers. The public outcry echoing on talk radio stations, blogs and newspaper opinion pages led to the repeal of the raise and the replacement of dozens of lawmakers.

John and Bernadette Kennedy live in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.



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