OAKLAND, Calif. (NEWSnet/AP) — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. picked Nicole Shanahan on Tuesday to be his vice presidential pick as he mounts an independent White House bid.

Shanahan is a California lawyer and philanthropist who’s never held elected office. Shanahan leads Bia-Echo Foundation, an organization she founded to direct money toward issues including women’s reproductive science, criminal justice reform and environmental causes.

Kennedy, a former Democrat, made the announcement in Oakland, California.

Without the backing of a party, Kennedy faces the difficult task of getting on the ballot, with varying rules across the 50 states. He’s picking a running mate now because about half of the states require him to designate one before he can apply for ballot access.

In advance of an event on Tuesday, Kennedy and his aides have circulated the names of several contenders, including celebrities with no political experience. Those names include NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, “Dirty Jobs” star Mike Rowe and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who was a wrestler and actor. 

Kennedy is a descendant of a storied Democratic family that includes his father, Robert F. Kennedy, who was a U.S. senator, attorney general and presidential candidate, and his uncle former President John F. Kennedy.

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