Presidential Campaign and Candidates

 

Bob Kerrey for President 1992 Campaign Brochure

Bob Kerrey for President 1992 Campaign Brochure

‘When you see a leader, you know it.’

 

Bob Kerrey was raised in Lincoln Nebraska, in a family of seven children. His father was a builder.

 

His mother earned an advanced degree while still raising the family. As Bob later recalled, "she could rock a grandchild to sleep while preparing her next lecture at the University of Nebraska. She had the capacity to engage her heart and her head at the same time." After graduating from the University of Nebraska with a degree in pharmacy, Bob Kerrey joined the Navy while the Vietnam war was at its peak

 

He volunteered for underwater demolition duty and then he was selected for the elite Seal name, the Navy's equivalent of the Green Berets.

 

Against all odds.

 

On the night of March 14, 1969, on an island off the coast of Vietnam, Lieut. (j.g.) Kerrey led his men on what seemed like an impossible mission. Intelligence had revealed that many key Viet Gong cadres were on the island, which was considered virtually unassailable. Bob and his men scaled a 350 foot sheer cliff in the dark of night and surprised the enemy leaders.

 

At the start of the action, a grenade landed at Bob Kerrey's feet, but he kept control of himself and command of his forces. They accomplished their mission, with Bob as the only serious casualty. For his outstanding bravery, Bob Kerrey was awarded the nation's highest medal, the Medal of Honor.

 

A promise made.

 

But his wounds were severe and for the next nine months, Bob Kerrey recovered at the Philadelphia Veterans Hospital where his right leg was amputated just below the knee. "It was the first time in my life I had seen suffering like that," Bob recalls. "And I vowed then never to forget there are people who are hurting. We have to tell them that we care, that there are people who genuinely care about them and will help. My government nearly cost me my life in Vietnam. Now it saved my life in Philadelphia."

 

Against the odds. Again.

 

Discharged from the hospital, ready to put his life back together, Bob Kerrey waited to strike out on his own. With very little money and no business experience, but a lot of determination, Bob and his brother-in-law started a business "Grandmother's Restaurant."

 

And Bob had some good help getting started. "Dad loved to build things" Bob recalls. "He helped us negotiate the lease, helped us carry boards, helped us do the thousand and one things you need to do when you start a business from scratch."

 

They took out loans. They waited for government licenses. They paid high interest rates on borrowed money. They washed the dishes, served customers, and struggled to pay the bills and taxes. Somehow, the business survived the critical first year, and they thought they had turned the comer. Then they were literally blown away by a tornado.

 

It was a humbling and disappointing experience, to watch all you had built and worked for destroyed in seconds. But Bob and his partners cleared away the debris and started again. Today their chain of restaurants and health clubs is one of Nebraska's great business success stories. The company employs more than 900 people.

 

"In business, you learn more than business Bob Kerrey says. "You learn how government can affect business -- often seeming to want to put you out of business. You learn the problems of your employees -- their need for health care, day care, and other problems that are their day-to-day lives. You live with these lessons, and learn new ones everyday."

 

A promise kept.

 

Bob Kerrey had proven himself in business. He had endured and survived a long hospital stay and had fought off the urges of self-pity and discouragement. He had created a bright, successful business. Now he was ready to redeem the pledges he had made to himself -- to give something back, to help save lives, in help make government serve people better.

 

Until now, he had spent his entire life outside politics. So when he decided to run for governor in a state where he was almost entirely unknown, where Republican registration hardly favors Democrats and against an entrenched Republican incumbent, few took him seriously.

But he ran the campaign the way he had run his life: speaking truth, calling out the problems as he saw them, offering creative solutions, and speaking with the kind of energy and enthusiasm that gave people new hope. That’s just what Nebraska needed. The state was locked in the worst Farm depression in 50 years. Bob Kerrey's leadership turned a $24 million deficit into a $49 million surplus. And he did it without shutting down the government, hurting the people or giving up on their future. Despite the economic hard times, Bob Kerrey launched many creative new initiatives to help communities get back on their feet, to educate people, to attract new jobs.

 

When his four-year term was near an end, everyone expected Bob Kerrey to run for re-election. That's what politicians do. He was very popular with Nebraskans and no serious opposition was in sight.

 

But Bob Kerrey said he felt he had done the job he had come to do. It was time for him to move back to private business. And he did. For a while. One of Nebraska's United States senators, a Democrat, died suddenly and a Republican was appointed to fill the vacancy. Once again, Bob Kerrey challenged a Republican incumbent in a Republican-leaning state and won the people's trust and votes.

 

New challenges to meet.

 

As a senator, Bob Kerrey held extensive health care hearings throughout Nebraska and elsewhere. From his work has come "Health USA," a fundamental change in the way the nation manages its health system. Kerrey's proposal would guarantee health care for everyone. And it will save money.

 

Getting Health USA enacted won't he easy. The powerful special interests will fight it tooth-and-nail. But it's the kind of fight Bob Kerrey's been winning all his life.

 

Bob Kerrey has addressed other tough issues, from assaults on the Bill of Rights to how we educate our children. He knows that to truly improve people's lives and get the American dream back on track, tough choices must be made. He has the vision, the experience and the courage to make them.

 

Bob Kerrey has seen war first hand. He has seen and experienced pain and suffering. He has started a business and made it grow. He knows all the problems confronted by business people and their employees. Bob Kerrey has successfully managed government and knows how the system works without being a career politician.

 

This is the kind of leader it will take to get us back on the road to greatness.

 

About Bob Kerrey.

 

Born J. Robert Kerrey, August 27, 1943, Lincoln, NE.

University of Nebraska, M.S. in Pharmacy 1966.

U.S. Navy, 1966 1969.

Married Beverly K. Defnall, 1974.

Two children, Bertrand, 16, Lindsey 15.

Divorced in 1978.

Restaurant owner, 1972-present.

Governor, 1983-1987.

U.S. Senator, 1989-present.

 

America needs a President who knows the problems people face and has faith in our ability to solve them. A President who cares more about the next generation than the next election.

We need a President who's determined to overcome all obstacles to help improve people's lives, now and for our future.

That's the kind of President I am determined to be.

-Bob Kerrey

 

The vision to see the job. The courage to do it.

 

The kind of leader it’s going to take.

 

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