(58.) JOHN FORBES KERRY (1943- )
Democrat Kerry/John Edwards
Defeated by Republican George W. Bush/Dick Cheney, 2004

John F. Kerry was born December 11, 1943 and grew up in Massachusetts. As he was graduating from Yale in 1966, Kerry volunteered to serve in Vietnam beginning his first of two tours of duty (1967-69). His leadership, courage, and sacrifice earned him a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with Combat V, and three Purple Hearts.

Kerry took an active antiwar role, becoming a leader of Vietnam Veterans against the War (VVAW) in early 1971. On April 22, 1971 he testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” Kerry’s charges that the U.S. military committed war crimes in Vietnam angered many Vietnam veterans. Kerry eventually left the leadership of the VVAW, which he believed had become too radical.

Kerry graduated from Boston College Law School in 1976 and went to work as a top prosecutor in Massachusetts. He was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1982. Two years later, he was elected to the U.S. Senate and won reelection three times. He entered the Senate with a reputation as a man of conviction. He helped provide health insurance for millions of low-income children, fought to improve public education, protect our natural environment, and strengthen our economy. He has been praised as one of the leading environmentalists in the Senate, who stopped the Bush-Cheney plan to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

John Kerry and John Edwards ran on a platform to make America stronger at home and more respected in the world. They stood for the values that have always made America great: faith and family, strength and service, responsibility and opportunity for all.