United States Senator. Born John Forbes Kerry on December 11, 1943 in Denver, Colorado. The son of a career foreign service officer, Kerry was raised in the Catholic faith and spent much of his childhood abroad. After graduating from Yale University, he served in Vietnam and was a recipient of the Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V (for valor) and three Purple Hearts. Upon his return, Kerry co-founded Vietnam Veterans of America and became a spokesperson for Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
After graduating from Boston College Law School, Kerry worked for a District Attorney’s office in Massachusetts and in private practice. In 1982, he won his first statewide political office and became Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor. He was elected to the United States Senate two years later, and was re-elected in 1990, 1996 and 2002.
While serving in the Senate, Kerry has earned a reputation as a left-of-center legislator. He supports free trade, expansive U.S. foreign and military policy, investment in education, environmental protection and growth of the high tech New Economy. He has also continued his work on behalf of Vietnam veterans, leading a Senate committee to ensure that there are no POWs left in that country.
In 2004, Kerry won the Democratic nomination for president, with much of his campaign platform criticizing the Bush administration’s foreign policy, particularly in its handling of the Iraq war. Though Kerry voted to give the president authority to wage war in Iraq, he subsequently voted against an $87 billion aid package for the country.
Kerry reasons that Bush misused the trust that Congress placed in him, and continues to criticize the president for “squandering the goodwill of the world after September 11.” In July, Kerry chose North Carolina senator and former trial lawyer John Edwards as his running mate. Later that month, Kerry and Edwards were joined by speakers Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Madeline Albright and others at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
In 1995, Kerry married Teresa Heinz, who is the widow of former senator John Heinz and heir to the Heinz fortune. Kerry has two daughters from a previous marriage, Alexandra and Vanessa. Teresa has three sons, John, Andre and Christopher. The couple lives in Boston.