BEIJING, Dec. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- John Forbes Kerry is a senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, where he has held office since 1985. He has just been nominated as US Secretary of State by President Obama, who is trying to usher in a new cabinet for his second term. The 69-year-old Democrat is expected to be easily confirmed by his Senate colleagues.
The son of an Army Air Corps veteran, Kerry was born in Aurora, Colorado.
He attended boarding schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and went on to graduate from Yale University, where he majored in political science.
Kerry, is a decorated Vietnam veteran, winning a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts for his service from 1968 to 1969.
On his return to the United States, he served as a nationally recognized spokesman against the war.
After graduating from Boston College Law School, he worked as an Assistant District Attorney.
He was first elected to the Senate as a representative of Massachusetts in 1984, and is currently serving his fifth term.
A Democrat, Kerry launched a bid for the White House in 2004 but lost to then incumbent George W. Bush by a margin of 34 electoral college votes.
In July 2004 he invited a young and unknown Barack Obama to make the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention held in Boston.
Kerry was elected to chair the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after chairman Joe Biden’s appointment as vice president in 2008.
In that post, the long-time lawmaker and foreign policy expert, has flown to Afghanistan and Pakistan numerous times to settle diplomatic disputes. And some analysts believe it is that kind of experience that will serve him well if he is appointed as US Secretary of State.
Michael O' Hanlon, foreign policy scholar, Brookings Istitute, said, "There are a couple of parts of the world where Kerry probably has an easier time dealing than President Obama, which is not unlike the situation with Hillary. Hillary got along better with the Israelis than President Obama did. Same thing for John Kerry, who has a pretty good relationship with Netanyahu, among others. Kerry has also done OK in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And I think President Obama has put a lot of his resources, or the country’s resources there during his tenure, but he’s had a hard time developing close personal connections with any of the leaders there. Kerry is probably a little better at that."
With decades of experience as a leading Senator on foreign policy issues, Kerry has first hand experience and relationships with most of the world leaders he will likely deal with in the coming years.