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John Forbes Kerry is an American diplomat and politician who serves as the 68th and current United States Secretary of State. A Democrat, he previously served in the United States Senate, where he was chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He was the Democratic nominee in the 2004 presidential election, losing narrowly to Republican incumbent George W. Bush.

John Kerry official Secretary of State portrait.jpg
68th United States Secretary of State
Assumed office
February 1, 2013
President Barack Obama
Deputy William Joseph Burns
Wendy Sherman
Tony Blinken
Preceded by Hillary Clinton
Succeeded by Rex Tillerson
Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
In office
January 6, 2009 – February 1, 2013
Preceded by Joe Biden
Succeeded by Bob Menendez
Chair of the Senate Small Business Committee
In office
January 4, 2007 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Olympia Snowe
Succeeded by Mary Landrieu
In office
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Kit Bond
Succeeded by Olympia Snowe
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2001
Preceded by Kit Bond
Succeeded by Kit Bond
United States Senator
from Massachusetts
In office
January 2, 1985 – February 1, 2013
Preceded by Paul Tsongas
Succeeded by Mo Cowan
66th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
In office
March 6, 1983 – January 2, 1985
Governor Michael Dukakis
Preceded by Thomas P. O'Neill III
Succeeded by Evelyn Murphy
Personal details
Born John Forbes Kerry
(1943-12-11) December 11, 1943 (age 73)
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Julia Thorne
Teresa Heinz
Children Alexandra
Vanessa
Parents Richard Kerry
Rosemary Forbes
Alma mater Yale University
Boston College
Signature
Website Government website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1966–1978
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Lieutenant
Unit USS Gridley (DLG-21)
Coastal Squadron 1
Commands PCF-44
PCF-94
Battles/wars Vietnam War 
Awards Silver Star ribbon.svg Silver Star
Bronze Star ribbon.svg Bronze Star
Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart (3)
Combat Action Ribbon.svg Combat Action Ribbon

John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943) is an American diplomat and politician who serves as the 68th and current United States Secretary of State. A Democrat, he previously served in the United States Senate, where he was chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He was the Democratic nominee in the 2004 presidential election, losing narrowly to Republican incumbent George W. Bush.

Kerry was born in Aurora, Colorado and attended boarding school in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. He graduated from Yale University in 1966 with a major in political science. Kerry enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1966, and between 1968 and 1969, he 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 Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and three Purple Heart Medals. Securing an early return to the United States, Kerry joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War organization in which he served as a nationally recognized spokesman and as an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War. He appeared in the Fulbright Hearings 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 in Massachusetts. He served as Lieutenant Governor under Michael Dukakis from 1983 to 1985 and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984 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. Kerry was re-elected to additional terms in 1990, 1996, 2002, and 2008. In 2002, Kerry voted to authorize the President "to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein," but warned that the administration should exhaust its diplomatic avenues before launching war.

In his 2004 presidential campaign, Kerry criticized George W. Bush for the Iraq War. He and his running mate, North Carolina Senator John Edwards, lost the election, finishing 35 electoral votes behind Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Kerry returned to the Senate, becoming Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship in 2007 and then of the Foreign Relations Committee in 2009. In January 2013, Kerry was nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then confirmed by the U.S. Senate, assuming the office on February 1, 2013.

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John Kerry On Brett Kavanaugh | Forbes

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John Kerry Confirmation Hearing: Questioned About Vietnam vs. Current U.S. Policy

Secretary of State nominee, a vet who later protested Vietnam, faces questions from Sen. Rand Paul.

John Kerry talks about finding common ground on Vietnam with John McCain

Former Secretary of State John Kerry talks about how he and Sen. John McCain developed a partnership despite the different perspectives they had on the ...