Title: Mass. senator elected 1984, 4th term up 2008
Born: Dec. 11, 1943, Denver, CO
Education: Yale U., A.B. 1966, Boston Col., LL.B. 1976
Marital Status: married (Teresa Heinz)
Elected Office: MA Lt. Gov., 1982-84.
Military Career: Navy, 1966-70 (Vietnam), Naval Reserves, 1972-78.
Professional Career: Organizer, Vietnam Veterans Against the War; Asst. Dist. Atty., Middlesex Cnty., 1976-81; Practicing atty., 1981-82.
· December 11, 1943: John Forbes Kerry is born at the Fitzsimmons Military Hospital in Denver to Rosemary (Forbes) and Richard Kerry.
· His family moved back to Massachusetts shortly after his birth.
· When Kerry was 11, his father was appointed legal adviser to the head of the US High Commission for Germany, which later became the US mission to the country.
· Kerry was sent for the next two years to boarding schools in Switzerland, joining his family in West Berlin only on vacations.
· By the time Kerry turned 13, his parents decided that they would stay in Europe, and that their son would return to New England for his education.
· In 1957, after his father had become the chief political officer at the US Embassy in Norway, the 13-year-old Kerry entered the Fessenden School in West Newton, Mass.
· After a year at Fessenden, Kerry entered the prestigious St. Paul's School, in Concord, N.H.
· Kerry was a volunteer in the 1962 senatorial campaign of Edward M. Kennedy.
· In 1962, Kerry entered Yale, and met President Kennedy twice while dating Jacqueline Kennedy's half-sister, Janet Auchincloss.
· Upon his graduation in 1966, Kerry was given the honor of delivering the class oration.
· Kerry enlisted in the US Navy on February 18, 1966, was ordered into active duty on October 19, 1966, and on December 16, 1966 Kerry received his Navy commission, a few days after his 23rd birthday.
· In December 1967, Kerry began his first tour of duty, serving on the guided-missile frigate USS Gridley.
· Kerry commanded his first swift boat, No. 44, from December 1968 through January 1969.
· In early 1969 he joined a five-man crew on swift boat No. 94 on a series of missions in which he won the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and two of his three Purple Hearts.
· Starting in late January 1969, this crew completed 18 missions over an intense and dangerous 48 days, almost all of them in the dense jungles of the Mekong Delta.
· April 1969: Kerry ends his second and final tour in Vietnam.
· He was discharged from the Navy on January 3, 1970.
· Kerry married Julia Thorne, his best friend's sister, on May 23, 1970.
· He was one of the organizers of Vietnam Veterans Against the War in 1971.
· On April 22, 1971 Kerry testifies before Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
· Kerry ran for Congress in 1972, and lost.
· He went to law school and then worked for the Middlesex County district attorney's office.
· He left the Middlesex County district attorney's office in 1979 and opened a private law practice.
· Kerry was elected lieutenant governor on the Dukakis ticket in 1982.
· He ran for senator in 1984, for the seat being vacated by Paul Tsongas, and beat Raymond Shamie, a businessman and state Republican chairman, 55%-45%.
· After years of being separated, Kerry and Julia Thorne divorce, in July of 1988.
· On May 26, 1995, Kerry married Teresa Heinz in a civil ceremony on Nantucket.
· His toughest race for reelection to the Senate came in 1996, when he was opposed by Republican Governor William Weld; Kerry won 52%-45%.
· On January 12, 2003, Kerry announced that he would run for president in 2004.
· In January of 2004, Kerry finished first in the Iowa caucuses and first in the New Hampshire primary.
· Kerry ended up losing only three states during the primary season - ceding South Carolina to Edwards, Oklahoma to Wesley Clark and Vermont to Dean.
· John Kerry (D) 1,605,976 80%
· Michael Cloud (Lib) 369,807 18%
· John Kerry (D) unopposed
· John Kerry (D) 1,334,135 52%
· William Weld (R) 1,143,120 45%
· Other 78,687 3%
Prior winning percentages: 1990 (57%); 1984 (55%)
ON THE ISSUES
? Kerry believes that the Constitution protects a woman's right to choose. He would appoint no judge to the Supreme Court of the United States who is in favor of repealing Roe v. Wade.
· He opposed the partial-birth abortion ban because it doesn't allow for exceptions in situations where the health of the mother is at risk. He says the partial-birth abortion ban is the first step in an effort to undo Roe v. Wade.
QUOTES ON ABORTION
? "Never in my years in public service have the rights of women been at such risk - never have women been assaulted in their citizenship here at home or womanhood around the globe as they are by this Administration." 01/22/2004
· "I have always believed that women have the right to control their own bodies, their own lives, and their own destinies. And I am proud that I am the only presidential candidate to pledge that I will support only pro-choice judges to the Supreme Court." 01/22/2004
· "I don't support the president's law [on partial-birth abortions] because it doesn't allow the exception for situations where the health of the woman is at risk." 11/07/2003
· "I'd appoint Supreme Court justices who agree that the right to privacy, the bedrock of Roe v. Wade, is a constitutional right." 06/15/2003
? Kerry says we should continue to have affirmative action programs. He does not support the concept of quotas. He says the University of Michigan's affirmative action efforts were not a "quota system."
· He supports programs that seek to enhance diversity by fostering the growth of minority small businesses, and he supported Bill Clinton's "Mend it, Don't End it" programs.
QUOTES ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
? "I was one of the early people saying we have to mend it, don't end it. That's precisely what we did. We tried to end the quota concept and make sure we kept affirmative action. I have always supported affirmative action." 08/31/2003
· "My vision of America doesn't assault affirmative action and call fairness for minorities 'special preferences,' then turn around and give real 'special preferences' to Halliburton, Bechtel, and Enron." 07/13/2003
· "I have a vision that says we should have affirmative action in the country." 01/30/2003
· "Why not recognize that the playing field is not level and take affirmative action to bring fairness? We can help up the disadvantaged, without holding others down." 01/20/2003
? Kerry says he would support fully funding the No Child Left Behind education law as well as special education. He vows to make early education available and affordable for every American child.
· Kerry has pledged to spend $30 billion over 10 years on his effort to boost teacher salaries and raise standards. Kerry wants to recruit or retain 500,000 teachers during his first term. He wants to offer awards up to $5,000 to teachers who increase student achievement or make other improvements and would give a $5,000 minimum bonus for those who teach math and science or work in high-need schools.
· He says he would oppose vouchers and promote public school choice.
· He wants to create a College Opportunity Tax Credit on the first $4,000 paid in tuition each year of college.
· His Service for College plan would pay for four years of public college in exchange for two years of service in national service programs.
QUOTES ON EDUCATION
? "I believe we need to offer teachers more pay, more training, more career choices and more options for education, and we must ask more in return." 05/06/2004
· "Instead of tax breaks for the wealthiest and subsidies for special interests, and instead of photo opportunities with children as backdrops, let's give real meaning to the words 'leave no child behind.' It's time to give our schools the resources and our teachers the respect they deserve — and give every child in America the best possible start in life." 09/02/2003
· "... I think it's time we had a President who will stand up and say that four years of college should be as universal and affordable as a high school education is today." 12/02/2003
· "The next generation deserves better from this generation. They deserve a President who values their education as a fundamental right and an indispensable national resource. So here today I make you this pledge: I will be a President who will make our public schools a priority, not an afterthought." 07/13/2003
? Kerry said he will vote against an amendment if it reaches a final vote in the Senate.
· He supports same-sex civil unions so that gay couples can no longer be denied the health benefits, inheritance rights or Social Security survivor benefits that are guaranteed for heterosexual couples.
· He does not support gay marriage itself, saying it is a distinction that doesn't makes a difference with respect to the rights that we can afford under civil union in this country.
· He disagrees with the Massachusetts Supreme Court's advisory opinion that gay couples are entitled to equal marriage rights.
QUOTES ON GAY MARRIAGE
? "Had this amendment reached a final vote, I would have voted against it, because I believe that the American people deserve better than this from their leaders." 07/14/2004
· "I believe President Bush is wrong. All Americans should be concerned when a president who is in political trouble tries to tamper with the Constitution of the United States at the start of his re-election campaign." 02/24/2004
· "While I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, for 200 years, this has been a state issue. I oppose this election year effort to amend the Constitution in an area that each state can adequately address, and I will vote against such an amendment if it comes to the Senate floor." 02/24/2004
· "I believe the best way to protect gays and lesbians is through civil unions. I believe the issue of marriage should be left to the states, and that the President of the United States should be addressing the central challenges where he has failed –- jobs, health care, and our leadership in the world rather than once again seeking to drive a wedge by toying with the United States Constitution for political purposes." 02/24/2004
· "I believe and have fought for the principle that we should protect the fundamental rights of gay and lesbian couples — from inheritance to health benefits. I believe the right answer is civil unions. I oppose gay marriage and disagree with the Massachusetts court's decision." 02/04/2004
· "I am for partnership rights. I am for civil union. I am for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. I am for the hate crimes legislation. Because in America we're going to have a country where everybody has a right to be who they are, period." 11/04/2003
· "Marriage is viewed as a union between men and women, and that is a cultural, historical view that I believe — that's my position." 07/15/2003
? Kerry supports legislation that would allow all Americans to participate in the Federal Employees Health Care Benefits program. He proposes giving tax-based incentives to employers and tax credits to individuals to ensure that coverage is affordable. Under his plan the federal government would reimburse companies for 75 percent of catastrophic claims totaling more than $50,000.
· As well, under Kerry's plan, eligibility for Children's Health Insurance Program coverage will be extended to 300 percent of poverty-level incomes for children, and coverage will be extended to the six million single and childless adults who are uninsured and live below the poverty line.
· He proposes a refundable tax credit for up to 50 percent of coverage to small businesses and their employees.
· He also wants to add a strong, affordable prescription-drug benefit to Medicare and allow people to buy quality drugs through Canada.
QUOTES ON HEALTH CARE
? "In my first 100 days as president, I'll offer America a real deal on health care that starts with cutting costs and stopping skyrocketing premiums. Make no mistake, no one in this race will fight harder than I will to cover the uninsured and get to universal coverage. But there is more to the health care problem in America than covering the uninsured. The major reason Americans don't have coverage is they can't afford it." 12/14/2003
· "I will not add bureaucracy — I will slash it. I will not impair research and medical advancement — I will advance it. I will not stick Americans into a one-size-fits-all program — I will give them more options and more choices. But I will make sure every working American has health care they can afford." 12/14/2003
· "The plan I support won't force seniors into an HMO. It won't undermine the coverage for seniors that are already getting help today. It'll be run by Medicare instead of an insurance company in search of a buck, and it'll send a real benefit to every senior, no matter whether their costs are average or high." 10/07/2003
· "If we're going to be serious about making health care affordable, we have to get serious about cutting the cost of prescription drugs ... big drug companies are gouging seniors… I have a real plan to close the loopholes on drug sales to seniors so that your prescriptions are affordable and there when you need them." 10/07/2003
? Kerry vows to roll back George Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans s in order to invest in homeland security.
· He would make homeland security a central mission of the National Guard.
· He would also create a new Community Defense Service to provide volunteer manpower in the event of an attack.
· He calls on the private sector to help bring technological innovations to the war on terrorism.
· In addition, he would create a First Defenders Program to provide the gear for first responders to do their jobs safely and effectively.
· Kerry's proposals call for hiring up to 100,000 new firefighters and providing the equipment necessary to assure that firefighters are prepared.
· He also wants to develop an independent intelligence capability that focuses explicitly on domestic intelligence.
· This would connect the nation's public health systems with a real time detection system to pool patient data across the country.
QUOTES ON HOMELAND SECURITY
? "Homeland security must be a top priority of the president. Today, it's too often something this Administration just pays lip service to when the cameras are rolling." 06/03/2004
· "President Bush says we can't afford to fund homeland security. I say we can't afford not to. The Bush administration is tinkering while the clock on homeland security is ticking." 01/03/2004
? "The most basic responsibility of our government is to provide for the common defense. When I am president, we will have a real plan for homeland security that keeps Americans informed and provides our local responders with the resources they need to keep us prepared." 01/03/2004
· "When it comes to protecting America from terrorism, this administration is big on bluster and short on action." 12/17/2003
· "We need programs and plans to protect America. We need more than duct tape and plastic sheeting to keep us safe. In short, we need an administration with the experience, credibility, and a real plan to make America more secure." 12/21/2003
· "There's a growing preparedness gap in this administration's homeland security policies. This administration has again put the nation on a higher state of alert with minimal indication about what protective measures Americans are supposed to take. They have shortchanged homeland security so they could give tax cuts to the wealthy and special interests." 12/21/2003
? Kerry voted for the congressional resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq. He urged President Bush to take the time to develop a coalition, go through the UN, and make a viable plan for winning the peace. But now he says President Bush misled us on pre-war Iraq intelligence.
· He vows to hold Saddam Hussein accountable.
· He is in favor of internationalizing the effort by finding ways to bring more nations and more money to help in Iraq.
· He wants NATO to make Iraq one of its global missions.
QUOTES ON IRAQ
? "I believe it is critical that the President get real support - not resolutions, not words, but real support of sufficient personnel, troops, and money to assist in the training of security forces in order to be able to guarantee a rapid real transition, and most importantly, in order to be able to provide adequate security on the ground." 06/28/2004
· "It's essential to get troop and resource commitments for our mission in Iraq, to relieve the burden on our troops, as well as to help achieve stability, which is vital. And I believe that stability will come far more effectively and far more rapidly with the assistance and participation of other countries." 06/02/2004
· "The horrifying abuse of Iraqi prisoners, which the world has now seen, is absolutely unacceptable and inexcusable. And the response of the administration, certainly the Pentagon, has been slow and inappropriate." 05/05/2004
· "Whether Saddam Hussein is gone or not, we went to war in a rush, we went to war without a plan for winning the peace. This has been a disorganized, haphazard effort." 01/11/2004
· "There was a right way to do this and there was a wrong way to do it. And the president chose the wrong way because he turned his back on his own pledge to build a legitimate international coalition, to exhaust the remedies of the United Nations in the inspections and to go to war as a matter of last resort." 02/15/2004
· "The Bush administration misled the American people with respect to intelligence related to Iraq. That's very serious. It's clear they were wrong on any number of issues." 11/07/2003
· "I said to the president, 'Mr. President, take the time to build the coalition. Don't go to war because you want to, go to war because you have to. Exhaust the remedies available to you.'" 11/03/2003
· "I was in favor of disarming Saddam Hussein, and I'm glad we did. There's no ambivalence." 05/03/2003
? Kerry calls for the rollback of Bush tax cuts for those who make over $200,000 a year.
· He says he would cut taxes for 98 percent of Americans.
· He wants to keep Bush's middle class tax cuts. He has vowed to protect the increases in the child tax credit, the reduced marriage penalty and the new tax bracket that helps people save $350 on their first level of income.
· He would give the middle class new tax credits on health care and college tuition and seek to create a payroll tax holiday on the first $10,000 of wages.
QUOTES ON TAXES
? "The wealthiest Americans don't need more tax cuts, but middle class families do. We will cut taxes for 98 percent of Americans." 07/15/2004
· "We're going to cut taxes for the middle class. And we're going to rollback the Bush tax cuts for those who make over $200,000 a year, invest in education, in health care, and we're going to cut the deficit in half." 06/26/2004
· "I want middle class taxes to go down, so your incomes go up." 06/26/2004
· "Some people, like Howard Dean, believe the way to fix George Bush's failed economic policy and massive deficits is on the backs of seniors, children and families by cutting Medicare and repealing the tax cuts that middle-class families deserve." 10/20/2003
· "If I am president, I will repeal George Bush's special tax breaks that go to only those earning more than $200,000. I will end corporate welfare as we know it and tax giveaways to special interests. But I will provide working families with a tax cut." 08/28/2003
WAR ON TERROR
? Kerry says we should transfer sovereignty to the Iraqis as quickly as possible.
· He would increase the number of NATO-led ISAF troops in Afghanistan and expedite the training of the Afghan National Army and police force. He wants to disarm militias, neutralize warlords, and call on international donors to increase their reconstruction pledges to Afghanistan. In addition, he would pressure Pakistan and Iran to tighten border controls to crack-down on infiltration of terrorists in Afghanistan.
· Kerry says he would work with Iran to deport senior Al Qaeda leadership currently in that country by offering to trade them for MEK terrorists, pressure Iran diplomatically and through the UN, and work with Iran to stop the flow of Afghan narcotics across its borders.
· He also says he would seek to impose financial sanctions against nations or banks that fail to cooperate in the effort to control terrorist money laundering.
QUOTES ON WAR ON TERROR
? "I believe that the overall conduct of this administration's foreign policy the war included, the management of Afghanistan, the diversion from Afghanistan, away from Al Qaeda, the lack of cooperation with other countries, the lack of adequate attention on homeland security, all together — has not made America as safe as we ought to be given the options available to us in the aftermath of 9/11." 07/10/2004
· "No, I don't think it (Iraq) is the main front in the war on terror. The main front in the war on terror is in 60 countries around the world, with al-Qaeda and a host of other radical organizations, some of which are in countries that are our friends. And Iraq is only one portion, and the reason it's now linked to the war on terror as it has been is because of what has happened there." 06/02/2004
· "The war on terror is less of a military operation and far more of an intelligence-gathering and law-enforcement operation. And we deserve presidential leadership that knows that and knows how to make America safer, and I will do that." 01/04/2004
· "Saddam Hussein was way down the list, with respect to the targets, even on the Pentagon's own list of targets. And what they did was supplant Iraq for the real war on terror, which is Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and terror across the world." 01/04/2004
· "But Americans won't be fooled into confusing the war on terror with the capture of Saddam Hussein. I think most Americans would agree that having Saddam Hussein behind bars has made us safer. It's George Bush who tries to trick the American people into confusing Saddam Hussein and Usama bin Laden. And Democrats owe it to America to be better than that." 01/03/2004
· "I know how to make America safe and fight a war on terror that does not overextend our troops, that does not put America at greater risk. And we need a nominee about whom there are no questions on the subject of national security." 01/04/2004
· "President Bush says that the cooperation of other nations, particularly our allies, is critical to our war on terrorism. And he's right. Yet his administration consistently runs roughshod over the interests of those nations on a broad range of issues — from climate control to the International Court of Justice to the role of the United Nations to trade to rebuilding Iraq." 12/03/2003