Hillary Clinton's introduction of John Kerry to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

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HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It’s my pleasure this morning introduce President Obama’s nominee to be the next Secretary of State, my longtime friend and colleague, Senator John Kerry. John is the right choice to carry forward the Obama Administration’s foreign policy, and I urge his speedy confirmation.

As John prepares to testify today, I’m reminded of the years of leadership and service he will bring to this position. I remember a young lieutenant sitting before this committee more than four decades ago, speaking hard truths about a war that had gone badly off track. His words rang with courage, conscience, and integrity-qualities that John has always embodied.

Those are the values that have guided him through the years, whether returning to Vietnam to uncover the truth about his fellow soldiers who never came home; helping our service members, veterans, and their families get the support they had earned; or working on a range of issues to make our country stronger and to advance our interests around the world. I was fortunate to work with John through much of this time, as First Lady and later as his colleague in the Senate. I can attest to his skill, his vision, his commitment, and his values.

And he has been a valued partner to this Administration and to me personally. As Chairman of this committee, Senator Kerry has fought for our diplomats and development experts. He understands the value of investing in America’s global leadership. And, as we work to implement the Accountability Review Board’s recommendations, he is committed to doing what it takes to prevent another tragedy and to protect our people and posts around the world.

Working together, we’ve achieved a great deal. But the State Department and USAID have a lot of unfinished business, from Afghanistan to nonproliferation to climate change. We need to sustain our renewed engagement in the Asia-Pacific, continue ramping up economics as a tool for advancing American interests, and press forward with unleashing the potential of the world’s women and girls. We need to keep championing the kind of smart power that looks to innovation and partnerships-with governments and with people-as ways to expand opportunity and promote peace and stability.

With John Kerry, we will be leaving this work in the right hands. John has built strong relationships with leaders in government here and around the world. He has experience in representing our country in fragile and unpredictable circumstances. And perhaps most important, as the child of a Foreign Service family, John understands the challenges facing the men and women of the State Department and USAID. They deserve a leader like John Kerry.

Let me close by saying that leading our diplomats and development experts has been one of the great honors of my life. From my first day on the job, I was welcomed into this incredible family of dedicated public servants, nearly 70,000 strong. Every day, I’ve seen firsthand their skill, their bravery, and their unwavering commitment to our country. Together we’ve celebrated our successes, and together we’ve mourned our losses. I’ve been proud to call them colleagues, and to serve as Secretary of State. And today I’m pleased to stand with my successor, Senator Kerry.

Thank you.