Who is Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s running mate, philanthropist Nicole Shanahan?

Columbia, SC — Nicole Shanahan, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s independent presidential running mate, is unknown outside Silicon Valley but brings youth and riches to his campaign.

California lawyer and philanthropist Shanahan is 38. Shanahan formed the Bia-Echo Foundation to fund reproductive research, criminal justice reform, and environmental concerns. She founded and ran ClearAccessIP, a patent management company sold in 2020, and is a Stanford University fellow.

Shanahan spoke Tuesday of her Oakland upbringing, the daughter of a Chinese mother and an Irish and German-American father “plagued by substance abuse” who “struggled to keep a job.” Despite being “very wealthy later on in life,” Shanahan claimed she could connect to Americans being “just one misfortune away from disaster” due to their family's government help. Wealth helps the needy. Its purpose, Shanahan said. I also want to apply that to politics. Privilege serves this purpose.”

As Kennedy and his allies have been charged, she cited unproven vaccine hypotheses. The attorney described her desire to fight "chronic disease," citing her fertility issues and her autistic five-year-old kid. Shanahan mentioned “toxic substances in our environment,” “electromagnetic pollution” from cellphones, and the lack of long-term studies on infant vaccines, eliciting her biggest applause of the day.

Our children are not well, our people are not well, and our country will not be well for very long, if we don't heed this desperate call for attention,” she stated. The link between vaccines and autism has been refuted by numerous U.S. and international scientific research. Research has also disproven worries about overvaccinating youngsters.

Laboratory research and decades of use in hundreds of millions of individuals have shown vaccines to be safe and effective. Childhood immunizations save 5 million lives annually, according to the WHO. No medical intervention is risk-free, but doctors and researchers have shown that disease risks outweigh vaccine dangers.

Between 2018 and 2023, Shanahan married Sergey Brin and had a daughter. She grew up in San Francisco Bay Area, where Kennedy announced. Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, Kennedy's campaign manager and daughter-in-law, commended Shanahan's efforts on “honest governance, racial equity, regenerative agriculture and children's and maternal health” before the announcement. She said the work “reflects many of our country’s most urgent needs.”

In an interview Monday with “The State of California” on KCBS radio, Kennedy said his VP search prioritized “somebody who could represent young people.” He said Tuesday that Shanahan, who has “left the Democratic Party” like him, shares his concerns about government overreach and his distrust in major political parties to make lasting change.

At his Oakland event, Kennedy added, “She'll tell you that she now understands that defense agencies work for the military industrial complex, health agencies for big pharma and the USDA for big ag and the processed food cartels. “The EPA works with polluters, scientists can be mercenaries, government officials sometimes act as censors, and the Fed works for Wall Street and allows millionaire bankers to prey on Main Street and the American worker.”

Kennedy claimed he chose Shanahan partly because of her ancestry. I wanted someone who would celebrate our nation's traditions as an immigrant nation but yet understand that we must safeguard borders, he said. Kennedy had considered choosing a celebrity like NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, “Dirty Jobs” star Mike Rowe, or wrestler and actor Jesse Ventura.

Shanahan donated the maximum allowed to Kennedy while he was seeking the Democratic nomination before switching to an independent effort in October, according to campaign finance records. Shanahan has already donated to Kennedy, but it was unclear if she would spend her own money.

She provided $4 million to American Values 2024, a pro-Kennedy super PAC, for a Super Bowl ad. After criticism of the ad, the super PAC said Shanahan provided its “idea, funding, and execution.” The super PAC can receive limitless contributions but cannot work with Kennedy. Shanahan can directly donate limitless amounts to the vice presidential campaign. That might assist Kennedy's $15 million effort to be on the ballot in all 50 states, which will require over 1 million signatures.

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