Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) invoked his late father and uncles in a fundraising appeal for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent to supporters Tuesday.

My father and uncles fought to build a society that takes care of the least among us. Yet that social safety net is in imminent danger, Kennedy wrote.

Kennedys father, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), died in 2009. His uncle, President John F. Kennedy, was assasinated in 1963, and another uncle, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.), was assasinated five years later.

If my father were here, he’d tell you it’s going to be a dogfight. We need you in it, Patrick Kennedy wrote in the fundraising appeal. I’ve always been proud to be part of a family that has done so much to help build a strong American middle class. And I’m just as proud to be part of a political party that fights for the needs of that middle class.

Patrick Kennedy served eight terms in the House before retiring in 2011.