[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/22/art.kennedy1122.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-Rhode Island, will not seek re-election."](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.