John Kerry Confirmed as Secretary of State

Longtime readers of The Dem Daily know that I hold John Kerry in the highest regard and had the honor of working on his ’04 presidential and for his PAC in ’06. So yes, I’ll just admit it, I’m biased. I am so pleased for John Kerry that he has been confirmed as our next Secretary of State

I have great faith in his abilities to be a fantastic Secretary of State who will use his great skills of diplomacy for the better of the United States and the world:

The 69-year-old Kerry, a veteran of the Vietnam War, has deep roots in foreign service. His father, Richard, was a Foreign Service officer, and Kerry noted at his confirmation hearing last week that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was the only major panel he has been on since he began his Senate tenure in 1985. Kerry has been the committee’s chairman since 2009.

“My father’s work under presidents, both Democratic and Republican, took me and my siblings around the world for a personal journey that brought home the sacrifices and the commitment the men and women of the foreign service make every day on behalf of America,” Kerry said last week.

Congratulations Mr. Secretary!

The vote to confirm Kerry was 94 to 3, with three Republicans voting against him — Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma.

President Obama said in a statement today:

John has earned the respect of leaders around the world and the confidence of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, and I am confident he will make an extraordinary secretary of state, I look forward to his counsel and partnership in the years ahead as we ensure American leadership in the world and advance the interests and values that keep our nation strong.”

Today, following their approval of Sen. Kerry’s nomination, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee members presented John Kerry with a committee resolution honoring his service as its chairman. The full text of the resolution is below:

113TH CONGRESS

1ST SESSION

S. RES. 551

Committee on Foreign Relations

United States Senate

Committee Resolution

Whereas Hon. John F. Kerry has served;

Whereas John Kerry was sworn into the United States Senate in 1985 and for 28 years has served Massachusetts and the United States with honor, conviction and a sense of civility that is grounded in respect for others and for the seriousness of the times;

Whereas John Kerry appeared before the Committee on Foreign Relations at the invitation of Chairman Fulbright in 1971 to give voice to veterans opposed to the Vietnam War;

Whereas John Kerry has played a central role in U.S. foreign policy for more than four decades, bringing a steady hand, responsible leadership and thoughtful analysis to multiple crises and challenges;

Whereas John Kerry forged a partnership with Senator John S. McCain that led to an effort to investigate the fate of American soldiers unaccounted for in Vietnam, and a subsequent effort to lift the trade embargo and ultimately normalize relations with a former enemy, Vietnam;

Whereas John Kerry has led difficult, sensitive and comprehensive investigations in the Senate on everything from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International and illegal money laundering to the Noriega regime in Panama;

Whereas John Kerry was a leading advocate for democratic elections in the Philippines, serving with Senator Lugar as part of a Senate delegation that uncovered the fraud that led to the ouster of President Ferdinand Marcos;

Whereas John Kerry worked with Cambodian government officials and the United Nations to facilitate the creation of the genocide tribunal in Cambodia to prosecute key members of the Khmer Rouge;

Whereas John Kerry has been a strong and persistent advocate of programs that help secure nuclear, biological and chemical weapons stockpiles and materials so they do not fall into the hands of hostile states or terrorists;

Whereas John Kerry has been at the forefront of efforts to tighten U.S. anti-money laundering laws and to ban arms exports to countries that provide support for acts of international terrorism;

Whereas John Kerry has brought great skill to his stewardship of the Committee on Foreign Relations;

Whereas John Kerry’s patience, fair-mindedness and tenacity were invaluable in securing Senate advice and consent to ratification of the New START Treaty with Russia;

Whereas John Kerry has earned broad respect for the way he pragmatically and thoughtfully approaches the challenges of Afghanistan and Pakistan;

Whereas John Kerry has been a strong supporter of the NATO Alliance and its continuing evolution to protect the West from challenges both new and old;

Whereas John Kerry’s early and bold advocacy of a no-fly zone over Libya helped save thousands of civilians from being massacred;

Whereas John Kerry was a voice of courage and conscience in calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step aside and begin an orderly and peaceful transition to a democratic political system in Egypt;

Whereas John Kerry has been a tireless advocate for the cause of peace in Sudan and South Sudan and played an instrumental role in the successful referendum in 2011;

Whereas John Kerry’s bipartisan work with former Majority Leader Bill Frist on comprehensive HIV/AIDS legislation laid the foundation for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a program that provides life-saving treatment for people with HIV/AIDS and supports broad prevention efforts that save lives every day;

Whereas John Kerry continued to fight for the rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS by spearheading the effort to remove the HIV visa ban;

Whereas John Kerry has been the keeper of the Senate’s conscience on global climate change and the transition to a clean energy future;

Whereas, in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, John Kerry has convened eight major hearings and roundtables on climate change and energy security, underscoring their connection to global stability, economic competitiveness and America’s national security;

Whereas John Kerry has fought for our nation’s foreign service officers, civil service professionals and development experts with uncommon passion and commitment;

Whereas John Kerry will bring decades of experience in international affairs to the post of United States Secretary of State, the capstone to an already distinguished life spent in public service; and

Whereas John Kerry will be the ninth Secretary of State from Massachusetts, continuing in the footsteps of leaders including John Quincy Adams and Daniel Webster, and, joined by figures such as Henry Clay, he is the fourth Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to ascend to this cabinet post and the first as Chairman since John Sherman who served from 1897-1898;

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, that the Committee on Foreign Relations—

1. Commends the long and distinguished service of John F. Kerry, whose exceptional skill as a lawmaker is matched only by his commitment to an America that is, in President John F. Kennedy’s phrase, not “first but, first when, first if, but first period”; and

2. Extends its best wishes for his continuing service to the Nation.

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