PERSON: John Kerry


Employer

U.S. State Department
Position

Secretary of State
Biography

John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943) is an American politician who has been a United States senator from Massachusetts since 1985, and is Barack Obama's nominee to replace current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. He was the seventh most senior United States senator and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to President George W. Bush. In December 2012, Kerry was nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of State.

The son of an Army Air Corps veteran, Kerry was born in Aurora, Col. He attended boarding school in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and went on to graduate from Yale University class of 1966, where he majored in political science and became a member of the influential Skull and Bones secret society. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1966, and during 1968-1969 served an abbreviated four-month tour of duty in South Vietnam as officer-in-charge (OIC) of a Swift Boat. For that service, he was awarded combat medals that include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts. Securing an early return to the United States, Kerry joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War in which he served as a nationally recognized spokesman and as an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War. He appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs where he deemed United States war policy in Vietnam to be the cause of "war crimes."

After receiving his J.D. from Boston College Law School, Kerry worked as an assistant district attorney and co-founded a private firm. He served as lieutenant governor of Massachusetts under Michael Dukakis from 1983 to 1985, where he worked on an early forerunner to the national Clean Air Act. He won a tight Democratic primary in 1984 for the U.S. Senate and was sworn in the following January. On the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he led a series of hearings from 1987 to 1989 which were a precursor to the Iran–Contra affair. He was an early backer of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but became a strong opponent of the subsequent war.

Kerry based his 2004 presidential campaign on opposition to the Iraq War. He and his running mate Senator John Edwards lost the race, finishing only 35 electoral votes behind the Republican ticket headed by President George W. Bush (and only 19 behind the 270 required for election). Since then, he has established the Keeping America's Promise PAC. He became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2009, and in 2011 he was appointed to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

-- Wikipedia
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