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Kennedy links environment to caring for downtrodden

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. brought his message of saving the environment to Lexington Wednesday.

Kennedy, son of the late Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy and U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, told an audience on the University of Kentucky campus about the importance of environmental and economic awareness and the need to become involved "in the social movement geared toward saving our planet."

His speech, entitled "Our Environmental Destiny," was sponsored by the UK Student Activities Board and the Student Sustainability Council.

At a reception earlier Wednesday hosted by Jerry and Charlotte Lundergan at the Carrick House in downtown Lexington, Kennedy said Americans will be judged "by how we care for the least."

He invoked memories of his late father and Ted Kennedy, who died recently, and their concern for the sick and needy.

"What kind of America are we going to have?" Kennedy asked. "Let's live up to the moral expectations that so many hope and dream for this country."

He said care for the environment and the downtrodden are intertwined.

Kennedy, who may run in two years for the U.S. Senate seat in New York to which his father was elected in 1964, offered his views on the environment in an interview.

He railed against mountaintop removal, a controversial method of extracting coal, and said America should focus more on natural gas, wind and solar power as sources of energy.

Nuclear energy is too costly and dangerous to pursue, he said.

"The fix for every environmental problem is democracy," he said, urging the media, particularly newspapers, to do more in exposing environmental problems.

Kennedy applauded the Lundergans for renovating the Carrick House and other old buildings in Lexington and Maysville.

Lundergan, who met Kennedy while they both campaigned for Hillary Clinton for president last year, said the reception with Kennedy was the first of several meetings he is hosting to urge current and prospective small business owners to renovate existing buildings.

Anyone interested in the free meetings, he said, can call him at (859) 229-6515.