John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943) is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, and is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost by 34 electoral votes to former President George W. Bush. Senator Kerry is a decorated Vietnam veteran, and was a spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War when he returned home from service. Before entering the Senate, he served as an Assistant District Attorney and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts under Michael Dukakis, who was nominated for President by the Democrats in 1988.
Kerry is the child of Richard J. Kerry (1915–2000), a Foreign Service Officer and an attorney for the Bureau of United Nations Affairs, and Rosemary Forbes Kerry (1913–2002), a World War II nurse and member of the wealthy Scottish-American Forbes family. He has three siblings: two sisters, Diana (born in 1947) and Margerie (aka Peggy; born in 1941) and a brother, Cameron (born in 1950), Cameron Kerry was picked to be Barack Obama's general counsel of the Commerce Department.
His immediate family members were reportedly observant Roman Catholics. As a child, Kerry served as an altar boy. Although the extended family enjoyed a great fortune, Kerry's parents themselves were upper-middle class; a wealthy great aunt paid for Kerry to attend elite schools in Europe and New England. Kerry spent his summers at the Forbes family estate in Brittany, and there, he enjoyed a more opulent lifestyle than he had previously known in Massachusetts. While living in the U.S., Kerry spent several summers at the Forbes family's estates on Naushon Island off Cape Cod.