John Kerry was born on December 11, 1943, at Fitzsimmons Military Hospital in Denver, Colorado, where his father Richard, who had volunteered to fly DC-3’s in the Army Air Corps in World War II, was recovering from a bout with tuberculosis. Not long after Sen. Kerry’s birth, his family returned home to Massachusetts.
A graduate of Yale University, John Kerry entered the Navy after graduation, becoming a swift boat officer, serving on a gunboat in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, and three awards of the Purple Heart for his service in combat.
By the time Senator Kerry returned home from Vietnam, he felt compelled to question decisions he believed were being made to protect those in positions of authority in Washington at the expense of the soldiers carrying on the fighting in Vietnam. Kerry was a co-founder of the Vietnam Veterans of America and became a spokesperson for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War – Morley Safer would describe him as “a veteran whose articulate call to reason rather than anarchy seemed to bridge the gap between Abbie Hoffman and Mr. Agnew’s so-called `Silent Majority.'” In April 1971, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he asked the question of his fellow citizens, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.) thanked Kerry, then 27, for testifying before the committee, expressing his hope that Kerry “might one day be a colleague of ours in this body.”
Fourteen years later, John Kerry would have the opportunity to fulfill those hopes – serving side by side with Sen. Pell as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But in the intervening years, he found different ways to fight for those things in which he believed.
Time and again, Kerry fought to hold the political system accountable and to do what he believed was right. As a top prosecutor in Middlesex County, Kerry took on organized crime and put the number two mob boss in New England behind bars. He modernized the District attorney’s office, creating an innovative rape crisis crime unit, and as a lawyer in private practice he worked long and hard to prove the innocence of a man wrongly given a life sentence for a murder he did not commit.
In 1984, after winning election as lieutenant governor in 1982, Kerry ran and was elected to serve in the United States Senate, running and winning a successful PAC-free Senate race and defeating a Republican opponent buoyed by Ronald Reagan’s reelection coattails.
Like his predecessor, the irreplaceable Paul Tsongas, Kerry came to the Senate with a reputation for independence – and reinforced it by making tough choices on difficult issues: breaking with many in his own party to support Gramm-Rudman Deficit Reduction; taking on corporate welfare and government waste; pushing for campaign finance reform; holding Oliver North accountable and exposing the fraud and abuse at the heart of the BCCI scandal; working with John McCain in the search for the truth about Vietnam veterans declared POW/MIA; and insisting on accountability, investment, and excellence in public education.
Sen. Kerry was reelected in 1990, again in 1996, defeating the popular Republican Governor William Weld in the most closely watched Senate race in the country, and in 2002. Now serving his fourth term, Kerry has worked to reform public education, address children’s issues, strengthen the economy and encourage the growth of the high- tech new economy, protect the environment, and advance America’s foreign policy interests around the globe.
John Kerry is married to Teresa Heinz Kerry. He has two daughters, Alexandra and Vanessa. Teresa has three sons, John, Andre, and Christopher. Senator Kerry lives in Boston.
Defending the American Homeland
The most basic responsibility of government is to provide for the common defense. The Bush Administration has provided too little support, too little leadership, and too little vision for the common defense of our homeland. John Kerry has the courage to roll back George Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans so we can invest in homeland security.
John Kerry believes we shouldn’t be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in Brooklyn. Our first defenders should never come in last in the budget. Firefighters are first up the stairs and John Kerry believes they deserve to be first in line when we decide our spending priorities.
America needs a new strategy for homeland security that asks Americans to do more and take steps as big as the threats we face. We need to put our faith and trust in the people on the frontlines – and back it up with real resources. We need to make sure first defenders have the gear and support they need, and the benefits and protections they’ve earned. Kerry has a six-point plan to ensure that we are safer, stronger and more secure on our own soil.
A New ‘Era of Opportunity’
for Small Business.
Small businesses are the engine of the American economy but they have been suffering under George W. Bush. Over the past two years, the number of small business closures has been greater than the number of small business openings. As the former chairman and current ranking member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, Kerry has been a national leader in promoting small business growth. Kerry owned his own small business, a cookie and muffin shop – Kilvert and Forbes – that he opened in 1976 with a friend in Boston’s Quincy Market, giving him firsthand experience of the obstacles faced by small business owners. As president, Kerry will bring the lessons of owning and working in a small business and his leadership fighting to support small businesses in the Senate to the White House.
Restoring Jobs and Rebuilding Our Economy
George W. Bush has chosen tax cuts for the wealthy and special favors for the special interests over our economic future. Kerry’s priority will be middle class families who are working hard to cover the mortgage, pay the high cost of health care, child care and tuition, or just trying to get ahead.
The first thing Kerry will do is fight his heart out to bring back the three million jobs that have been lost under George W. Bush. He will fight to restore the jobs lost under Bush in the first 500 days of his administration. Kerry has proposed creating jobs through a new manufacturing jobs credit, by investing in new energy industries, restoring technology, and stopping layoffs in education.
Kerry has a plan to secure America’s economic future and ensure that workers can achieve the American dream in our changing economy Kerry has the courage to roll back Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans so we can invest in education and health care. He isn’t afraid to crack down on corporations that are hiding their money in Bermuda to avoid paying their fair share and will end special tax giveaways to companies that ship jobs abroad. And he will defend the rights of workers, consumers and shareholders in holding corporations accountable for their actions.