Massachusetts Senator John Kerry was the second Democrat to enter the race, announcing on December 1, 2002. Going into 2004, he was not considered a front-runner but came back to win the Iowa caucuses and almost every primary and caucus afterward, gathering enough delegates to be the Democratic nominee. His history includes a bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1966 and a law degree from Boston College in 1976. His military service includes the Navy from 1966 to 1970 and the Naval Reserves from 1972 to 1978. He was first elected Massachusetts lieutenant governor in 1982 until 1984. He was then elected as a U.

S. senator in 1984, and he considered a presidential run in 2000. Kerry has his own unique position on many key issues, including national security, the environment and energy, and education just being a few. One issue that Kerry has spoken about is our national security. Especially after September 11 th, many people want a president who will be able to provide us with a safe place to live. Kerry has many new plans that he will put into effect to do this.

First, he backs letting the Patriot Act expire without congressional approval. He does not believe that this act will make Americans safer, but instead feels that it infringes on our rights as citizens. Also to protect our rights, he is against labeling U. S. citizens 'enemy combatants'.

Next we need to be able to track and stop terrorists before they are able to strike. Many of the intelligence problems that allowed terrorists to slip into our country before 9/11 have not been addressed. Kerry will improve our ability to gather, analyze, and share information so we can track down and stop terrorists before they cause us harm by setting up new organizations and reforming the ones in place already. We then need to protect our borders and shores. Today, our borders, our ports, and our airports are not as secure as they must be. Kerry will make our airports, seaports, and borders more secure without intruding upon personal liberties by giving these areas the resources and training that they desperately need.

Also to help improve the border situation, Kerry will speed the immigration process to help unite families and decrease the amount of illegal aliens crossing into the country. The hardening of vulnerable targets is also part of his plan to protect Americans. Chemical industry lobbying has kept the Bush administration from strengthening security at chemical plants, where an attack could endanger millions of Americans. Kerry will always put Americans's safety ahead of big business interests and take strong measures to harden likely targets, including nuclear plants, trains, and subways against possible attack. Kerry also states that America needs its allies to help fight terrorism and secure our safety. The threat of terrorism demands alliances on a global scale to make use of every available resource to get the terrorists before they can strike at us.

Lastly, to ensure our safety, Kerry will free America from its dangerous dependence on Mideast oil. By using American initiative, we can achieve that goal while not only protecting Americans, but also protecting our environment. Another issue Kerry has addressed is our environment and energy. Under his plan, America needs to focus a lot more on finding new energy sources to reduce our dependence on the Mideast, and find cleaner, safer ways to use the energy sources we already posses.

Kerry's plan will invest in the research and exploration needed to turn ideas into fuel and develop renewable energy sources. In his plan, America will not only find new energy sources, but also take the lead in developing the technology and production methods needed to ensure that resources such as coal and natural gas are used more efficiently and cleanly. He says that one of his main goals is creating "cleaner, greener communities." Kerry says that we can improve the environment in backyards and communities across America. He will restore contaminated industrial sites, get toxins out of communities, guarantee our children access to clean, safe parks and baseball fields, and deal with traffic congestion. Kerry believes that Americans are united in our respect for the land.

He will enact a Conservation Covenant with America to ensure balanced protection for our public lands and adequate resources to enhance our national parks. As president, he promises to reverse the Bush-Cheney rollbacks to our Clean Air Act, plug loopholes in the law, take aggressive action to stop acid rain, and use innovative, job creating programs to reduce mercury emissions and other emissions that contribute to global warming. Today, approximately 45 percent of our nation's waterways do not meet the 'drinkable, swim able and fish able's tankard set out by the Clean Water Act. Kerry says he will put into effect a 'Restore America's Waters' campaign, a way to protect our limited water resources. He will work with states on the toughest water quality challenges, restore damaged watersheds, protect wetlands, invest in our waterfronts and coastal communities, and protect our oceans. Lastly, Kerry will change the way America looks at education.

First, he will meet the responsibilities to our schools. He will establish a National Education Trust Fund to ensure that schools always get the funding they need. They will also ensure that "No Child Left Behind" works for schools, states, and teachers by rewarding those who meet higher standards and rewarding schools that turn around and improve. As president, Kerry says he will enact a new program that offers teachers more, including better training and better pay in troubled schools, and also put into effect fast, fair ways to make sure that teachers who don't belong in the classroom don't stay there.

Kerry says he is a strong supporter of after school programs. His 'School's Open Til Six' plan will offer after school opportunities to 3. 5 million children, through programs that are open until 6 pm and offer safe transportation for the children. Kerry will even help college students by offering a fully refundable College Opportunity Tax credit on up to $4, 000 of tuition for every year of college and offer aid to states that keep tuition's down.

Overall, Kerry has many new ideas to help turn around key issues that many Americans are worried about. He has taken a strong position on most of these issues and in my opinion, will make concerns like our National Security, our environment and energy problems, and education much better for the American people.