(CNN) -- Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat, is not running for re-election, he said Thursday in a video to his constituents.
"Having spent two decades in politics, my life is taking a new direction, and I will not be a candidate for reelection this year," he said. "Going forward, I will continue many of the fights we've waged together, particularly on behalf of those suffering from depression, addiction, autism and post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I'm so grateful to the people of Rhode Island. When I made missteps or suffered setbacks, you responded not with contempt but with compassion."
The 42-year-old representative is in his eighth term in office. He is the youngest of three children of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Massachusetts.