Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has spent much of his adult life in U.S. politics, and says he is running for president to answer his call to service.
Mr. Kerry was born December 11th, 1943, (at Fitzsimons Army Hospital) in Denver, Colorado. His father, Richard, was a volunteer in the Army Air Corps during World War Two, and his mother, Rosemary, was a community activist from a wealthy family.
John Kerry first entered the political spotlight in 1971, when he appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations committee to speak out about the Vietnam War. The 27-year-old Yale University graduate earned widespread attention because his service as a Navy officer in Vietnam had earned him a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and three Purple Hearts.
A year later, in 1972, Mr. Kerry made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in Massachusetts. After his loss, he attended law school and spent the next several years as a prosecutor.
In 1982, he stepped back into politics as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts.
Two years later, he was elected to the Senate and has been re-elected three times since.
Mr. Kerry's voting record in the Senate has been liberal for the most part. His policy initiatives include education, the environment and what many call his strong point -- foreign policy.
He also served 19 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
In 2002, he voted in favor of authorizing the use of force in Iraq. But he has repeatedly criticized the Bush administration for what he calls enormous miscalculations surrounding the war.
Mr. Kerry is married to Teresa Heinz. He has two daughters from a first marriage that ended in divorce, and three stepsons.