REMEMBERING CHIP KENNETT; Congressional Record Vol. 161, No. 16
(Senate - January 30, 2015)

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[Pages S671-S672]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                        REMEMBERING CHIP KENNETT

  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Madam President, I wish to pay tribute to Bayard 
Winslow ``Chip'' Kennett II, a native of Conway, N.H., who passed away 
on January 17 at the age of 34.
  Growing up in the Mount Washington Valley, Chip was a fantastic 
student-athlete and natural leader. At A. Crosby Kennett High School, 
one of two schools in Conway which bears his family name, Chip 
quarterbacked the Kennett High School football team and was honored 
with the Jack Burns Memorial Award for leadership, dedication and 
loyalty to his teammates on the Kennett High baseball team. His 
parents, Bayard and Theresa, instilled in Chip a love for the region 
and its people, and Chip spent his summers volunteering and working at 
Conway's community recreation center.
  Chip would later go on to a career in public service that spanned 
close to a decade, rising from a college internship with then-New 
Hampshire Representative John Sununu to a position in Senator Judd 
Gregg's office, after which he returned to work for John Sununu upon 
his election to the Senate. Before leaving Capitol Hill to join 
Raytheon's government affairs practice, Chip most recently worked for 
Maine Senator Susan Collins as her military legislative assistant and 
director of appropriations. During his time in Washington, Chip was 
active in the New Hampshire State Society, helping to raise funds for 
New Hampshire students hoping to intern in the Nation's capital as he 
had during college. All those who knew him in the Senate recall his 
upbeat and caring nature, both qualities that buoyed him and his family 
through the difficulties of the past 2 years.

[[Page S672]]

  In October 2012, Chip's wife Sheila was 35 weeks pregnant when he was 
diagnosed with stage IV advanced lung cancer. As he learned more about 
his diagnosis, Chip, who was not a smoker, was struck by the lack of 
progress in improving the survival rate for this deadly cancer which, 
contrary to popular perception, annually affects more non-smokers than 
smokers. During his own treatment, Chip became an advocate for lung 
cancer and worked exceptionally hard to increase awareness of the 
disease and to end the negative stigma of a lung cancer diagnosis. He 
gave his time and legislative expertise to LUNGevity, a lung cancer-
focused nonprofit, to help fight for much-needed lung cancer research, 
education and support. His efforts culminated in an invitation to 
testify on Capitol Hill regarding the need to expedite trials for 
breakthrough drugs to treat life-threatening diseases like lung cancer. 
Throughout his own battle with the disease, Chip held out hope that one 
day we could all celebrate a cure for cancer.
  Chip truly embodied the spirit of public service, especially in his 
remaining days when he served as a voice for others. I know I speak for 
all in the Senate when I say thank you, Chip, for providing an example 
of what it means to be a great father, son, husband, friend and 
  Chip is survived by his 5-year-old son Bayard ``Joe'' Kennett II, his 
2-year-old daughter Crosby Reynolds and his wife Sheila whom he met 
while they were both serving as staff members in the Senate; his mother 
and father, Bayard and Theresa Kennett of Conway, N.H., as well as his 
brother and sister-in-law Tanner and Sarah Kennett of North Conway, 
  On behalf of the people of New Hampshire, I ask my colleagues and all 
Americans to join me in honoring the life and service of Chip Kennett.
  Ms. AYOTTE. Madam President, I wish to recognize the extraordinary 
life of my friend Chip Kennett, who passed away on January 17 after a 
courageous 2-year battle against cancer.
  Bayard Winslow ``Chip'' Kennett II was born and raised in Conway, and 
he was a proud New Hampshire native son. The Kennetts are pillars of 
the Conway community whose roots in the Mount Washington Valley go back 
generations, and I have been fortunate to know Chip's family and to 
witness their countless contributions to business and civic life in New 
  Chip carried on his family's tradition of public service when he 
first came to Capitol Hill to serve his home State of New Hampshire. He 
served as a congressional staffer for nearly 8 years--first as a 
legislative correspondent to my predecessor Senator Judd Gregg and 
later as a policy aide for former Senator John E. Sununu. More 
recently, he was a senior aide to my colleague from Maine, Senator 
Susan Collins. When I first came to the Senate in 2011 and did not yet 
have a full legislative staff in place, Chip generously offered his 
counsel on national security and defense issues, for which I was very 
  While working for Senator Gregg, Chip met the love of his life, 
Sheila, who would become his wife.
  In October 2012, Chip--seemingly healthy and active at the age of 
31--was diagnosed with Stage IV nonsmoker's lung cancer. There was no 
cure. In the face of an unimaginable prognosis, Chip understood better 
than most that life is a gift, and he inspired us all with his 
determination to live his life to the fullest--making the most of the 
time he had with his wife Sheila and their two young children, Joe and 
Crosby. Together, they found joy and meaning in simply being together 
during everyday, ordinary moments--resolving to be ``present and 
grateful.'' From family dinners to rooting for his favorite football 
team on ``Patriots Football Sunday'', Chip savored the blessings of 
family and friendship.
  True to his compassionate nature, he turned his diagnosis into a 
cause for good--becoming a counselor to others battling cancer, raising 
public awareness of the disease and the need to reduce the stigma 
associated with lung cancer. The blog that Chip and Sheila started 
provided a ``Playbook for Living'' that served as a source of 
inspiration and encouragement to others who were fighting similar 
battles with cancer. Chip also put his Capitol Hill experience to work 
as an advocate for lung cancer research, and his efforts are credited 
with helping spur changes in Medicare coverage for lung cancer 
treatments--a legacy that will continue to touch many lives.
  Chip summed up his approach to living with cancer at a hearing last 
May before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, where he testified 
that ``thanks to medical breakthroughs, I have been able to experience 
many quality filled days. We have enjoyed spending holidays with 
friends and family. I have been able to continue working full time. As 
a family, we have sat down at the dinner table together, have attended 
innumerable swim lessons, soccer and tee ball practices for my son on 
Saturday mornings, and have sat in a church pew together on Sunday 
mornings. In other words, we have stayed busy--busy LIVING with 
  Chip's strong network of family and close friends was extremely 
important to him. He was always happiest being around the people he 
loved. After his diagnosis, his family, friends, coworkers, and former 
Hill colleagues--affectionately known as Team Kennett--mobilized to not 
only support Chip and his family but also to support their efforts to 
aid others fighting cancer.
  The courage and strength with which Chip and his family faced his 
illness is an inspiration to us all. Perhaps Chip's greatest legacy is 
the valuable lesson he taught us all about how to live fully in each 
  Chip was a wonderful, smart, and fun-loving man, and he had a big 
heart. It was a joy to know him and to call him a friend, and his loss 
is simply heartbreaking.
  My heart and thoughts are with all of Team Kennett, including Sheila, 
Joe, and Crosby; as well as Chip's parents Bayard and Theresa Kennett 
of Conway; and his brother and sister-in-law Tanner and Sarah Kennett 
of North Conway.