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Senator John Kerry

With election day less than three weeks away, the country is gripped in what could be the closest, and most important, elections in recent memory.  George W. Bush, the incumbent Republican president, is facing of against the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry, of Massachusetts. 

John Kerry’s appearance on the series of nationally televised debates was the first time many Americans were exposed to him.  Apart from the recent slander attack questioning his presence in the Vietnam War, many Americans knew relatively little about the man.  So who is John Kerry?

John Kerry was born on December 11, 1943 at Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Colorado.  His father, Richard, volunteered in the Army Air Corps during World War II.  His mother, Rosemary, was a lifelong community activist.  After graduating from Yale, Kerry enlisted to serve in the Vietnam War.  On his tour of duty, his leadership, courage, and sacrifice earned him a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with Combat V, and three Purple Hearts.  However, he was disillusioned with the war after witnessing the deaths of many combat mates, and questioned Washington’s decision to send troops there.  When he returned home, he became a spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) and later co-founded Vietnam Veterans of America.

John Kerry would then attend and graduate with a law degree from Boston College Law School in 1976.  He then worked as a top prosecutor in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, fighting organized crime and putting behind bars some notorious gangsters.  He fought for victims’ rights and created programs for rape counseling.  

John Kerry entered politics when he was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1982.  Two years later, he was elected to the United States Senate and has won reelection three-times since.  In the Senate, John Kerry fought to strengthen our economy, improve public education, make health care more affordable, and protect our environment.  During his 19 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has distinguished himself as one of our nation’s most respected voices on national security and international affairs.

In the current election, Kerry has differing views on several key topics compared to Bush.  The War on Iraq is the most notable.  Kerry has been extremely critical of the Bush administration’s entrance into the war.  He cites that the War against Terror was used as a smokescreen to invade and occupy Iraq – with economic and oil interests being the main fuel driving the invasion.  Kerry feels that US credibility is deteriorating in the international community due to all the unilateral actions Bush has taken while embarking on his war.