John Forbes Kerry
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John Forbes Kerry , a Democrat, has been the Senator for Massachusetts since 1984 (map). Republican Scott Brown is the junior Senator. In 2004, Kerry made an unsuccessful bid for president, losing to George W. Bush.
- 1 Record and controversies
- 2 Bio
- 3 Money in politics
- 4 Committees and affiliations
- 5 More background data
- 6 Contact
- 7 Articles and resources
Record and controversies
In 1991, Kerry initially opposed the measure aimed at liberating Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion. The United Nations had imposed sanctions on Iraq, and Kerry argued that the sanctions then in place should be given more time to work.
More recently, Kerry said on October 9, 2002; "I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force--if necessary--to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." Bush relied on that resolution in ordering the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Kerry also gave a January 23, 2003 speech to Georgetown University saying "Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator; leading an oppressive regime he presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real." Kerry did however warn the administration should exhaust its diplomatic avenues before launching war: "Mr. President, do not rush to war, take the time to build the coalition, because it's not winning the war that's hard, it's winning the peace that's hard." 
After the invasion of Iraq, regarding the limited discovered evidence of any such weapons, Kerry strongly criticized Bush, contending that he had misled the country: "When the president of the United States looks at you and tells you something, there should be some trust."  Although strongly critical of the president on the Iraq invasion, Kerry has stated that he does not regret being one of 29 Democratic Senators to support the resolution.
For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal
Climate change debate
On April 5, 2007, Kerry and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich announced that they would debate the issue of climate change. Kerry and his wife authored This Moment on Earth, which addresses climate change and preserving the environment. Gingrich wrote a book, A Contract with the Earth, due out in November 2007. The debate attempted to keep climate change in the forefront of Americans’ minds.
Global Warming Reduction Act
The Global Warming Reduction Act of 2007 (S.485) was introduced on February 1, 2007 by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) to "to amend the Clean Air Act to establish an economy-wide global warming pollution emission cap-and-trade program to assist the economy in transitioning to new clean energy technologies, to protect employees and affected communities, to protect companies and consumers from significant increases in energy costs, and for other purposes." The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Finance and also gained Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) as a co-sponsor.
- Main article: U.S. congressional action on climate change#Global Warming Reduction Act of 2007 (S.485)
Issues and voting record
John Kerry is member of the Democratic Leadership Council, which advocates liberal and neoliberal positions. Most analyses place Kerry's voting record near to, or somewhat to the left of, center within the Senate Democratic caucus. During the 2004 presidential election he was portrayed as a staunch liberal by conservative special interest groups and the Bush campaign, who often noted that in 2003 Kerry was rated the National Journal's top Senate liberal. However, that rating was based only upon voting on legislation within that past year. In fact, in terms of career voting records, the National Journal found that Kerry is the 11th most liberal member of the Senate. Most analyses find that Kerry is "a bit" more liberal than the typical Democratic Senator. For example, Keith T. Poole of the University of Houston found that Kerry was tied for being the 24th most liberal Senator.
Kerry has stated that he opposes privatizing Social Security, supports abortion rights for adult women and minors, supports civil unions for same-sex couples, opposes capital punishment except for terrorists, supports most gun control laws, and is generally a supporter of trade agreements. Kerry supported the North American Free Trade Agreement and Most Favored Nation status for China, but opposed the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
Meeting with Ortega
On April 18, 1985, a few months after taking his Senate seat, Kerry and Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa traveled to Nicaragua and met the country's president, Daniel Ortega. Though Ortega was democratically elected, the trip was criticized because Ortega and his leftist Sandinista government had strong ties to Cuba and the USSR. The Sandinista government was opposed by the right-wing CIA-backed rebels known as the Contras. While in Nicaragua, Kerry and Harkin talked to people on both sides of the conflict. Through the senators, Ortega offered a cease-fire agreement in exchange for the US dropping support of the Contras. The offer was denounced by the Reagan administration as a "propaganda initiative" designed to influence a House vote on a $14 million Contra aid package, but Kerry said "I am willing...to take the risk in the effort to put to test the good faith of the Sandinistas." The House voted down the Contra aid, but Ortega flew to Moscow to accept a $200 million loan the next day, an act which in part prompted the House to pass a larger $27 million aid package six weeks later. 
In April 1986, Kerry and Senator Christopher Dodd, a Democrat from Connecticut, proposed that hearings be conducted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding charges of Contra involvement in cocaine and marijuana trafficking. Sen. Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the Republican chairman of the committee, agreed to conduct the hearings.
Meanwhile, Kerry's staff began their own investigations, and on October 14 issued a report which exposed illegal activities on the part of Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, who had set up a private network involving the National Security Council and the CIA to deliver military equipment to right-wing Nicaraguan rebels (Contras). In effect, North and certain members of the President's administration were accused by Kerry's report of illegally funding and supplying armed militants without the authorization of Congress. Kerrys staff investigation, based on a yearlong inquiry and interviews with 50 unnamed sources, is said to raise "serious questions about whether the United States has abided by the law in its handling of the contras over the past three years."
The Kerry Committee report found that "the Contra drug links included...payments to drug traffickers by the U.S. State Department of funds authorized by the Congress for humanitarian assistance to the Contras, in some cases after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges, in others while traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies." The Kerry report was a precursor to the Iran-Contra affair. On May 4, 1989, North was convicted of charges relating to the Iran/Contra controversy, including three felonies. On September 16, 1991, however, North's convictions were overturned on appeal because North's testimony before Congress under immunity may have affected testimony in the trial.
Kerry and the George H. W. Bush administration
On November 15, 1988, at a businessmen's breakfast in East Lynn, Massachusetts, Kerry made a joke about president-elect George H.W. Bush and his running mate, saying "if Bush is shot, the Secret Service has orders to shoot Dan Quayle." He apologized the following day.
During their investigation of Noriega, Kerry's staff found reason to believe that the Pakistan-based Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) had facilitated Noriega's drug trafficking and money laundering. This led to a separate inquiry into BCCI, and as a result, banking regulators shut down BCCI in 1991. In December 1992, Kerry and Senator Hank Brown, a Republican from Colorado, released The BCCI Affair, a report on the BCCI scandal. The report showed that the bank was crooked and was working with terrorists, including Abu Nidal. It blasted the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury, the Customs Service, the Federal Reserve Bank, as well as influential lobbyists and the CIA. 
Kerry was criticized by some Democrats for having pursued his own party members, including former Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford, although Republicans said he should have pressed against some Democrats even harder. The BCCI scandal was later turned over to the Manhattan District Attorney's office.
John Kerry was born December 11, 1943 to upper-middle class parents. He attended the Fessenden School and St. Paul's School before enrolling at Yale University, where he earned a degree in political science in 1966.
- See also the main Congresspedia article on John Kerry/Biography.
In 1972, Kerry lost a bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives to Republican Paul W. Cronin. He then decided to study law and earned his Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School in 1976. He went to work as an assistant district attorney, a job which he held until entering into private practice in 1979. In 1982, Kerry reentered public service, running for and winning the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. He ran with Michael Dukakis in the general election and their ticket won easily.
In 1984, Kerry decided to run for U.S. Senator, when the incumbent Senator Paul Tsongas retired for health reasons. He narrowly won the primary, then won the general election by a larger margin. He was reelected in 1990, 1996, and 2002.
- See also the main Congresspedia article on John Kerry/Biography.
2004 presidential campaign
In the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries, Kerry defeated several Democratic rivals, including Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), former Vermont Governor Howard Dean and retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark to earn the party's nomination for the presidency. He selected John Edwards of North Carolina as his running mate. During the campaign, Kerry's Vietnam service record became a primary topic of debate, with Republican-backed groups such as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth being harshly critical of it. Kerry ultimately was defeated by incumbent George W. Bush.
- See also the main Congresspedia article onJohn Kerry/Biography page.
- See also the main Congresspedia article on John Kerry/Attacks on Vietnam service page.
2008 presidential election
After positioning himself to run in the 2008 presidential election, Kerry announced in a speech to the Senate on January 24, 2007 that he would not be seeking election. Instead, Kerry said he would like to remain in the Senate to ensure the pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq. 
In February of 1966, Kerry volunteered for military service, joining United States Naval Reserve. Following his graduation, he went on active duty and after completing Officer Candidate School, he was commissioned as an ensign. Following a tour of duty on a guided missile frigate, he was promoted to lieutenant and given the command of a swift boat operating in the Vietnam theater. During his time as a swift boat commander, Kerry received a silver star, a bronze star, and three purple hearts. Following his third wound, he was reassigned to non-combat duty until his discharge in 1970.
Following Kerry's return to the United States and discharge from the military, he became a vocal critic of the US involvement in Vietnam. As a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, he lobbied for an end to the conflict from a former participant's point of view. In 1971, he became the first Vietnam veteran to testify in front of Congress regarding the war.
- See also the main Congresspedia article on John Kerry/Vietnam Service.
During John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign several Republican groups and Republican front groups brought into question Kerry's military record. As the campaign developed, approximately 200 Vietnam-era veterans formed the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT) and held press conferences, ran ads, and endorsed a book questioning Kerry's service record and his military awards. Several SBVT members were in the same unit as Kerry, but did not serve at the same time as Kerry's service. Others were listed as serving in the same swift boat, but again not at the same time as Kerry. One of them, Stephen Gardner, served on the same boat with Kerry. Gardner, however, was not present for the events leading up to Kerry's silver star, bronze star or purple hearts. Other SBVT members included two of Kerry's former commanding officers, Grant Hibbard and George Elliott. Hibbard and Elliott have alleged, respectively, that Kerry's first Purple Heart and Silver Star were undeserved. In addition, various members of SBVT have questioned Kerry's other medals and his truthfulness in testimony about the war. Defenders of John Kerry's war record, including most of his surviving former crewmates, have asserted that several organizers of SBVT had close ties to the Bush presidential campaign and that certain SBVT accusations were politically motivated and false.
- See also the main SourceWatch article on John Kerry/Attacks on Vietnam service.
Asks Department of Homeland Security not to deport illegal immigrant wife of MIA soldier
In June, 2007, Senator Kerry asked DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff to hold off on deporting an illegal immigrant married to an Army specialist missing in action in Iraq. Specialist Alex Jimenez married Yaderlin Hiraldo in 2004, after she arrived illegally in the United States from the Dominican Republic in 2001, and the couple are Senator Kerry's constituents, residing in Lawrence, Mass.
Money in politics
This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00000245&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>
|Links to more campaign contribution information for John Forbes Kerry
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
|Fundraising profile:||2006 election cycle||Career totals|
|Top contributors by organization/corporation:||2006 election cycle||Career totals|
|Top contributors by industry:||2006 election cycle||Career totals|
- Revolving door profile for John Forbes Kerry from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org website.
- 2006 privately funded travel profile for John Forbes Kerry from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org website.
- Personal finance profile for John Forbes Kerry from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org website.
Committees and affiliations
- Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
- Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
- Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
- Subcommittee on Space, Aeronautics, and Related Sciences
- Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
- Subcommittee on Interstate Commerce, Trade, and Tourism
- Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Innovation - Chairman
- Senate Committee on Finance
- Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship - Chairman
- Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
- Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs
- Subcommittee on Near East and South and Central Asian Affairs
- Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Narcotics Affairs
- Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance
Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)
- Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
- Subcommittee on Fisheries and the Coast Guard
- Subcommittee on Global Climate Change
- Subcommittee on National Ocean Policy Study
- Subcommittee on Technology Innovation and Competitiveness - Ranking Minority Member
- Subcommittee on Trade Tourism and Economic Development
- Senate Committee on Finance
- Subcommittee on Long-Term Growth Debt and Deficit Reduction - Ranking Minority Member
- Subcommittee on Health Care
- Subcommittee on Social Security and Family Policy
- Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
- Subcommittee on International Operations and Terrorism
- Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs - Ranking Minority Member
- Subcommittee on International Economic Policy Export and Trade Promotion
- Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Peace Corps and Narcotics Affairs
- Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship - Ranking Minority Member
- Chairman, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, 1987-89
- Public Advisory Committee, Population Institute
- Former Board Member (1989), Center for Democracy
- Advisory Board, Thomas C. Wales Foundation 
- Counsellor, One Young World 
More background data
District Office- Boston:
One Bowdoin Square, 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02114
District Office- Worcester:
90 Madison Place, Suite 205
Worcester, MA 01608
District Office- Springfield:
One Financial Plaza
Springfield, MA 01103
District Office- Fall River:
222 Milliken Place, Suite 311
Fall River, MA 02722
Articles and resources
- Jeremy Jacobs, "Kerry, Gingrich announce climate showdown," The Hill, April 5, 2007.
- OpenCongress: S.485
- Kara Oppenheim, "Kerry asks DHS not to deport wife of MIA soldier," The Hill, June 20, 2007.
- Advisory Board, Thomas C. Wales Foundation, accessed August 5, 2009.
- Counsellors, One Young World, accessed January 8, 2011.
- John Kerry Family Tree
- Profile: John Kerry, BBC.co.uk, June 19, 2003.
- Wikipedia Timeline for John Forbes Kerry.
Local blogs and discussion sites
Anti-Kerry websites and groups
Pro-Kerry websites and groups
Speeches, statements and articles by John Kerry
- Statement on behalf of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, April 1971.
- Senator John Kerry's voting record
- John Kerry's Senate hearing testimony to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 1971. (PDF file)
- The BCCI Affair, A Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, by Senator John Kerry and Senator Hank Brown, December 1992
- John Kerry, John Kerry's Statement on Iraq Before the War, October 9, 2002.
- "Senator John Kerry's Speech at Brown University," JohnKerry.com, September 19, 2005. Re Hurricane Katrina.
- Interview with Jon Stewart (part one), The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, August 24, 2004. (Other Daily Show interviews with members of Congress.)
- Interview with Jon Stewart (part two), The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, August 24, 2004. (Other Daily Show interviews with members of Congress.)
- "When Resolve Turns Reckless," Washington Post, December 24, 2006.
- "Transcript: Massachusetts Senator John Kerry on 'FOX News Sunday'," Fox News, March 18, 2007. re Bush administration U.S. attorney firings controversy and McCain doctrine (surge in Iraq)
Articles & commentary
- Laura Blumenfeld, John Kerry: Hunter, Dreamer, Realist. Complexity Infuses Senator's Ambition, The Washington Post, June 1, 2003.
- William A. Cook, "Tweedledee and Tweedledum: Bush and Kerry Melt into One", Counterpunch, April 24/25, 2004.
- "Skull and Bones: Secret Society that unites President Bush and John Kerry," Democracy Now!, January 22, 2004.
- Maryclaire Dale, "Judge Dismisses Suit Against Sen. Kerry," Associated Press (ABC News), August 4, 2006.
- Pamela Leavey, "Case Dismissed: Judge Dismisses Entire Sherwood vs. Kerry, 'Stolen Honor' Lawsuit," The Democratic Daily Blog, August 4, 2006.
- Clyde, "The Swiftboat Vets get sunk in court ruling. Case Dismissed: Judge Dismisses Entire Sherwood vs. Kerry, 'Stolen Honor' Lawsuit," Dubya40.com, August 5, 2006.
- Taylor Marsh, "2006: Don't Let The Door Hit You on the Way Out," TaylorMarsh.com, October 8, 2006: "'How can these guys possibly protect the United States of America from terrorists when they can't even protect us from Congressman Mark Foley?' - Senator John Kerry, Realtime, with Bill Maher." (Click on YouTube link.)
- Dan Balz, "With Eye On 2008, Kerry Goes After Bush," Washington Post, October 15, 2006.
- Kelly O'Donnell and Huma Zaidi, "Kerry Under Fire," First Read/MSNBC, October 31, 2006.
- "Kerry to Noise Machine: 'F*CK YOU!'" Hoffmania!, October 31, 2006.
- Full transcript, October 31, 2006, at JohnKerry.com: "I'm sick and tired of a bunch of despicable Republicans who will not debate real policy, who won't take responsibility for their own mistakes, standing up and trying to make other people the butt of those mistakes. It disgusts me that a bunch of these Republican hacks who've never worn the uniform of our country are willing to lie about those who did.".
- Video: "Kerry Offers No Apologies," Washington Post, October 31, 2006.
- David Stout, "Kerry and G.O.P. Spar Over Iraq Remarks," New York Times, October 31, 2006.
- Andy Ostroy, "Chris Matthews Defends Kerry Against Sleazy Repug Attacks. We Say, if Anyone Owes the Soldiers an Apology, it's Bush," The Ostroy Report, October 31, 2006.
- "Uproar over Kerry Iraq remarks. Bush says troops deserve apology; Kerry says joke aimed at president," Associated Press (MSNBC), November 1, 2006.
- Adam Nagourney and Jim Rutenberg, "As Vote Nears, Stances on War Set Off Sparks," New York Times, November 1, 2006. (Subscription required.)
- "Kerry apologizes for 'botched joke' on Imus. Kerry says administration has 'failed America,' playing distraction politics," Imus in the Morning/MSNBC, November 1, 2006.
- Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey, "Bush’s Nostalgia. The dust-up between the president and Sen. John Kerry over Iraq is a flashback to 2004. Unfortunately for the GOP, the 2006 outcome could be very different," Newsweek (MSNBC), November 1, 2006.
- Billmon, "The Joke's on Us," Whiskey Bar, November 2, 2006.
- "Kerry Will Not Run," Political Wire, January 24, 2007.
- "Lamont Joins With Kerry, Targeting 4 GOP Senators," Associated Press (Hartford Courant), May 8, 2007. re Ned Lamont
|Current Office: U.S. Senate|
Ranking Member On:
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation/Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Innovation, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Ranking Member On:
|Committees: Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation, Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation/Subcommittee on Aviation Operations Safety and Security, Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation/Subcommittee on Interstate Commerce Trade and Tourism, Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation/Subcommittee on Oceans Atmosphere Fisheries and Coast Guard, Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation/Subcommittee on Science Technology and Innovation, Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation/Subcommittee on Space Aeronautics and Related Sciences, Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation/Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure Safety and Security, Senate Committee on Finance, Senate Committee on Finance/Subcommittee on Energy Natural Resources and Infrastructure, Senate Committee on Finance/Subcommittee on Health Care, Senate Committee on Finance/Subcommittee on Social Security Pensions and Family Policy, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations/Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations/Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance Economic Affairs and International Environmental Protection, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations/Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations/Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Peace Corps and Narcotics Affairs, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship|
|First Elected to Current Office:
November 6, 1984
|First Took Current Office:
January 2, 1985
November 4, 2014
|Previous Political Work?
Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
|Other Party Membership:|
|Zip Code Affiliations:|
Date of Birth: December 11, 1943