John Kerry

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John Kerry
Official portrait, 2021
1st United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
Assumed office
January 20, 2021
PresidentJoe Biden
Preceded byOffice created
68th United States Secretary of State
In office
February 1, 2013 – January 20, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
DeputyWilliam Joseph Burns
Wendy Sherman (acting)
Tony Blinken
Preceded byHillary Clinton
Succeeded byRex Tillerson
Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
In office
January 6, 2009 – February 1, 2013
Preceded byJoe Biden
Succeeded byBob Menendez
Chair of the Senate Small Business Committee
In office
January 4, 2007 – January 3, 2009
Preceded byOlympia Snowe
Succeeded byMary Landrieu
In office
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded byKit Bond
Succeeded byOlympia Snowe
United States Senator
from Massachusetts
In office
January 2, 1985 – February 1, 2013
Preceded byPaul Tsongas
Succeeded byMo Cowan
66th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
In office
March 6, 1983 – January 2, 1985
GovernorMichael Dukakis
Preceded byThomas P. O'Neill III
Succeeded byEvelyn Murphy
Personal details
John Forbes Kerry

(1943-12-11) December 11, 1943 (age 79)
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Julia Thorne
(m. 1970; div. 1988)

Teresa Heinz (m. 1995)
ParentsRichard Kerry
Rosemary Forbes
RelativesForbes family
EducationYale University (BA)
Boston College (JD)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1966–1978
Rank Lieutenant
UnitUSS Gridley (DLG-21)
Coastal Squadron 1
Battles/warsVietnam War (WIA)
Awards Silver Star
Bronze Star (with valor)
Purple Heart (3)
Combat Action Ribbon

John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943[1]) is an American politician. He is a former United States Secretary of State and former Senator from Massachusetts and the Democratic nominee for president in 2004. He lost to George W. Bush. He has served in the Senate for 23 years and has also served as the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts under Michael Dukakis.

In November 2020, then President-elect Joe Biden named Kerry as the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.[2]

Early life[change | change source]

An early senate picture of Kerry

Kerry was born on December 11, 1943 at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado. His father was an officer in the United States Army Air Force. He studied at Yale University and at Boston College Law school. Kerry was raised as a Roman Catholic by his Catholic father and Episcopalian mother.[3]

It was discovered in 2003 by Felix Gundacker, a genealogist[4] working with The Boston Globe, that Kerry's paternal grandparents, who had been born Jewish, as "Fritz Kohn" and "Ida Löwe", in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, changed their names to "Frederick and Ida Kerry" in 1900 and converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism in 1901[5][6]

Career[change | change source]

In 1968 and 1969, Kerry was a United States Navy officer in Vietnam. During the 2012 Obama reelection campaign, Kerry participated in one on one debate prep with the president, impersonating the Republican candidate Mitt Romney.[7]

Kerry's vice presidential candidate was John Edwards. The ticket lost the election to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. One of the reasons Kerry lost is because people said he was an elitist (he did not understand most Americans) and also because a group called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" attacked his service in Vietnam.

In November 2006, Kerry once apologizes after saying that college students needed to study hard or else they would "get stuck in Iraq."[8]

Secretary of State[change | change source]

On December 21, 2012, President Barack Obama nominated Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.[9][10][11] The committee said yes on making Kerry the new Secretary of State. Kerry won confirmation by the Senate on January 29, 2012 by a 94-3 vote. He assumed the office of Secretary of State on February 1, 2013.[12][13]

John Kerry is sworn in as Secretary of State by Justice Elena Kagan, Feb 1, 2013

In a letter to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Kerry announced his resignation from the Senate effective February 1.[14] Kerry was sworn in as Secretary of State on February 1, 2013.[15]

Special Envoy for Climate Change[change | change source]

On November 23, 2020, President-elect Joe Biden announced that Kerry will serve as the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate in the Biden administration.[2] He was sworn in on January 20, 2021, the same day Biden was inaugurated as president.

Personal life[change | change source]

He was married to Julia from 1970 until they divorced in 1988. Then he was married to Teresa Heinz since 1995. He has two children and three step-children. He now lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Kerry and his former competitor George W. Bush share an ancestor on Kerry's mother's side and Bush's father's side from the 1600s.[16]

Kerry is 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) tall,[17] enjoys surfing and windsurfing, as well as ice hockey, hunting and playing bass guitar. According to an interview he gave to Rolling Stone magazine in 2004, Kerry's favorite album is Abbey Road and he is a fan of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, as well as of Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Buffett. He never liked heavy metal.[18] During his 2004 presidential campaign, Kerry used Bruce Springsteen's "No Surrender" as one of his campaign songs. Later he would adopt U2's "Beautiful Day" as his official campaign song.

Health[change | change source]

In 2003, Kerry was diagnosed with and successfully treated for prostate cancer.[19]

References[change | change source]

  1. "". Archived from the original on 2012-01-27. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Biden Reveals Some Cabinet Picks". The Wall Street Journal. 23 November 2020. Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  3. Caldwell, Deborah, "Not a Prodigal Son",, August 2004.
  4. Berger, Joseph (May 16, 2004). "Kerry's Grandfather Left Judaism Behind in Europe". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2008.
  5. Kranish, Michael; Mooney, Brian C.; Easton, Nina J. (April 27, 2004). "John Kerry: The Complete Biography by The Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 8, 2008.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. Whitmore, Brian (February 22, 2004). "Hearing of roots, Czech village roots Kerry on". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 8, 2008.
  7. Rama, Padmananda (November 8, 2012). "Likely Suspects: Guessing Obama's Second-Term Cabinet". North Country Public Radio. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  8. "John Kerry Fast Facts". 20 December 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
  9. Landler, Mark (December 21, 2012). "Kerry Is Pick for Secretary of State, Official Says". The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  10. News, A. B. C. "Sources: Kerry to Be Nominated to Be Secretary". ABC News. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  11. "John Kerry To Get Secretary Of State Nomination, Reports ABC". Huffington Post. December 15, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
  12. Curry, Tom (January 29, 2013). "Senate votes to confirm Kerry as secretary of state". NBC News. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  13. "Senate Roll Call Vote". January 29, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  14. Kerry, John (January 29, 2013). "Letter to Deval Patrick" (PDF). Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  15. "CLINTON OUT, KERRY IN AS SECRETARY OF STATE". Associated Press. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  16. Roberts, Joel (February 11, 2009). "Bush, Kerry & Hefner: Odd Cousins". CBS. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on June 9, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  17. Nagourney, Adam (December 9, 2002). "Antiwar Veteran Eager for Battle". The New York Times.
  18. Wenner, Jann S. (November 11, 2004). "John Kerry". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 4, 2007.
  19. "Sen. Kerry 's Surgery A Success". CBS. February 11, 2003.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to John Kerry at Wikimedia Commons