John Kerry, America's new secretary of state, sworn in
John F. Kerry, who resigned from the Senate Friday, January 1 morning, was sworn in as America's 68th secretary of state the same afternoon at the hearing room of the Senate foreign relations committee he associated with for 28 years.
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan administered oath of office to Mr. Kerry.
Shortly before he graduated from Yale University, John Kerry enlisted to serve in the United States Navy, and went on to serve two tours of duty. He served in combat as a Swift Boat skipper patrolling the rivers of the Mekong Delta, returning home from Vietnam with a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with Combat V, and three Purple Hearts.
Back in the United State in 1971, Kerry began to forcefully speak out against the Vietnam War. Testifying at the invitation of Senate foreign relations committee chairman J. William Fulbright before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he asked the poignant question, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" He also began a lifelong fight for his fellow veterans as a co-founder of the Vietnam Veterans of America, and later as a United States Senator who fought to secure veterans’ benefits, extension of the G.I. Bill for Higher Education, and improved treatment for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
In 1976, Kerry received his law degree from Boston College Law School and went to work as a top prosecutor in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, where he took on organized crime, fought for victims' rights, and created programs for rape counseling. He was elected Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1982, and two years later, he was elected to the United States Senate where he served for 28 years.
As a Senator, Kerry served since 2009 as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, where he became a Senate leader on key foreign policy and national security issues facing the United States including Afghanistan and Pakistan, nuclear nonproliferation, and global climate change. His service as Chairman built on his previous Senate work that included helping to expose the Iran-Contra scandal and leadership on global AIDS.
As Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, in 2010, John Kerry was instrumental in the ratification of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) Treaty, a vital nuclear arms reduction agreement with Russia that helps steer both countries away from dangerous nuclear confrontations. The New York Times wrote that through his service as Chairman, "Kerry now practices his brand of diplomacy as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee but also, remarkably, as a kind of ex-officio member of Obama’s national security team, which has dispatched him to face one crisis after another in danger zones like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sudan."
In his 28 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry chaired the Asia and Middle East subcommittees where he authored and passed major legislation on international drug trafficking, international money laundering, humanitarian aid, and climate change, and he helped negotiate the UN’s genocide tribunal to prosecute war crimes in Cambodia.
He also held senior positions on the Finance, Commerce, and Small Business Committees, as well as served as a member of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, where he worked across party lines to try and reduce the country’s debt and strengthen our economy. Prior to his departure from the Senate, Kerry was the seventh most senior Senator.
Kerry was the Democratic nominee for President of the United States in 2004.
- Asian Tribune -