Young Lawmaker Fondly Recalls Working With JFK, Jr.

Tuesday, July 27th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Oklahomans have grieved with the rest of the country for the Kennedys this week. But a young Oklahoma lawmaker remembered John F. Kennedy, Jr. on a more personal note. The two worked together to help young people. State Representative Kenneth Corn told the News on Six several months ago about his work with Kennedy. This week, we asked for his impressions again.

In 1996, Kenneth Corn was still just a high school student from Howe, when he was asked to serve on the national school-to-work advisory committee. John Kennedy, Jr. was also serving on the committee. "He was at the signing ceremony for the school-to-work opportunities act in 1994 and I told him, `John, we appreciate you being on the council as an employer'," said Corn.

Kennedy had recently started George Magazine and was supporting the school-to-work program by allowing young people interested in publishing and journalism to intern and even work at his company. People who knew him say Kennedy wanted all children to have a fair chance in life. Corn says Kennedy felt like he knew why that wasn't happening. "He was the type of person, I think,that wanted every child in America to not be left behind to have an opportunity to achieve their dream. He had a substantial knowledge of past American history, even things that had gone on in education so he proved valuable to us as we were working on that system," Corn said.

Corn said Kennedy had qualities few other well-known people lack. He was easy to talk to and made everyone comfortable. "He was really down to earth. You could talk to him about anything. Sometimes when you meet someone like him you don't have that opportunity," he said. John F. Kennedy, Jr. may have thought he was just like everyone else, but the rest of the world knew differently. "When he left the table everyone scrambled for something that he touched. I know one lady took his Perrier bottle he'd been drinking out of," Corn remembered.

Kenneth Corn says he felt like Kennedy didn't like the spotlight but endured it. He had decided long ago to make it work for him and the issues he supported.