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Summary Article: Kerry, John Forbes from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US politician. He was senator for Massachusetts 1984–2013, Democratic candidate for the presidency in 2004, and US secretary of state from 2013. A decorated Vietnam War veteran, Kerry came back as an outspoken opponent of the war and gained national attention in 1971 when he testified on Vietnam to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A senator since 1984 and expert in foreign policy, he challenged the Republican President George W Bush for the presidency in 2004 but narrowly lost after a bitterly fought campaign. He had advocated expanded healthcare, a reversal of Bush's tax cuts for the very wealthy, resuming negotiations on the Kyoto treaty on global warming, and working closer with the United Nations and US allies abroad. He had supported the 2003 US-led war against Iraq, but later came to believe that Bush had misled the US population and was pursuing a reckless foreign policy. In January 2009, he became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and in February 2013 Democrat President Barack Obama appointed him US secretary of state, with charge of foreign affairs.

Born in Aurora, Colorado, Kerry spent his early years in the family's native state of Massachusetts. His father's career as a diplomat in Europe meant that his early education was at a Swiss boarding school, with summer vacations spent at his mother's family's home in Brittany, France. He completed his schooling in Massachusetts and went on to study political science at Yale University, and also became active in Democratic politics, assisting Edward Kennedy's senatorial campaign in 1962. In 1966 he enlisted in the US Navy and became a gunboat captain in Vietnam, receiving a Silver Star for his actions in combat. However, he came to see the war as a mistake, and on his return to the USA in 1969 he became a spokesperson for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. He trained as a lawyer 1973–76 and then worked as a prosecutor in Massachusetts, where he took on organized crime, before being elected lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 1982.

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