Thirty seven years after testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) as a young soldier returning from Vietnam, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) on Monday, December 15 was named the Committee’s Chairman for the 111th Congress.
A short biographic note from his website:
“John F. Kerry was born on December 11, 1943 at Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Colorado. His father, Richard, volunteered in the Army Air Corps and flew DC-3's and B-29's as a test pilot during World War II. His mother, Rosemary, was a lifelong community activist and devoted parent."
"Because his father was a Foreign Service Officer in the Eisenhower administration, John Kerry traveled a lot when he was young. On these trips, he learned firsthand what makes America a leader in the world - our optimism and our democratic values. And he learned that nations across the world share many common goals and that the best way to achieve them is through building strong alliances."
Kerry who is traveling as part of his first trip abroad as the incoming Chair released the following statement from Islamabad, Pakistan (he is also scheduled to visit Poland, Georgia, India, Afghanistan, and Kuwait):
“I am honored to serve as Chairman of a committee which I know from my own experience as a young man can impact the course of our security and help advance our values and interests in the world. It’s particularly a privilege to join in the committee’s rich history of bipartisan cooperation alongside my colleague and our distinguished Ranking Member, Dick Lugar. Whether it was under the Republican Chairman Vandenberg or the great Democratic Chairman William Fulbright, this committee has always stood for the best of American foreign policy. I look forward to working with all members of the committee to help strengthen America’s hand in Afghanistan and Pakistan, work towards global climate change solutions, and end the war in Iraq responsibly. We have a big agenda ahead of us, just as our country faces big challenges across the globe.”
Boston Globe reports that Kerry has been preparing to take leadership of the committee for several weeks. Last week, he reportedly met with HRC to iron out any issues that might arise during her confirmation hearing. Kerry has also appointed a new spokesman for the committee: Frederick L. Jones II, a former career Foreign Service officer and spokesman for the National Security Council under President Bush.
SFRC is responsible for vetting international treaties, conducting the confirmation hearings for presidential nominees for the State Department, and overseeing the State Department budget. It’s chairmanship remains among the most prized in the Senate and the post one of the most visible.
We'll hear more from Senator Kerry in the days to come.