Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Remarks by Chris Heinz, son of Teresa Heinz Kerry; and remarks by Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of John Kerry, at the Democratic National Convention.

Download PDFDownload PDF


THE FLEETCENTER, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS 10:29 P.M. EDT, TUESDAY, JULY 27, 2004 Copyright ©2004 by Federal News Service, Inc., Suite 220, 1919 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, Inc. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Internet Service, please email to or call (202)824-0570.

MR. HEINZ: Good evening. It's an honor to be here tonight to introduce my mother, Teresa Heinz Kerry. But first, I'd like to say how proud I am of my stepfather and how honored I am to serve this cause. (Applause.)

When my mom first introduced me to John, I said to myself: Self, the only man good enough for your mother is the president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.) I think it's going to work out. (Cheers, applause.)

More seriously, last week our family lost a dear friend, Joe Clark (sp). Joe had worked with our family for 35 years, since July of 1966. He was family. Joe first met my mom when she was newly married, and pregnant with my oldest brother. Digesting the loss of our friend, my mom and I spoke last week of their first meeting in Washington at the beginning of her American journey. We talked about the 38 years that had passed in her life and, as Joe would say, "all them changes."

You see, in '66 my mom was new to America, having recently arrived from her native home of Mozambique; bright, 27 years young, and speaking five -- five languages as a trained translator. She had met -- (cheers, applause). She had met a man from Pittsburgh, fallen in love and moved to the United States to start a new life. And as so frequently happens in this country, as an immigrant she took America and its opportunities and freedoms for all they're worth, both as a mother and as an engaged, progressive person.

In a long career dedicated to improving the lives of others, her finest work has been her stewardship of the Heinz Endowment since my father's death in 1991. (Cheers, applause.) She is a true visionary. The New York Times has referred to her as one of the nation's leading philanthropists. But don't take their word for it, or mine,

because I'm definitely biased, but simply go ask the residents of Western Pennsylvania, and beyond, about her -- (interrupted by cheers and applause) -- about her tireless efforts to protect our environment, promote the arts, improve education, and broaden economic opportunity, particularly for women.

I'll bet they vouch for me. (Cheers, scattered applause.)

My mother's political accomplishments are also remarkable, considering she grew up in a dictatorship. From joining the first Pennsylvania women's political caucus in 1972 to more recently fighting for health care and prescription drugs for seniors, my mom has set an example that's hard to follow. In total, she's campaigned in seven successful congressional races as a spouse to two wonderful men. Indeed, my mom's political accomplishments and experience are so varied and so recognized that in 1991, after my father's death, prominent members of the Republican Party urged her to run for the Senate. (Cheers, applause.)

Of course, none of these achievements define her as my mother, not through the prism of a son's eyes. I'm blessed to see and know so much more about this remarkable woman. My memories run deep: flashes of her packing my lunch, applying a band-aid, sending me off to college, or serving as a very necessary first line of defense against some aggressive older brothers. (Scattered laughter.) And while it's impossible for me to share my full sentiments here with you all, let me just say this. My mother in my heart and mind is a force: spiritual, organic and loving; smart, funny and wise. If, as her son, I can be any two of those things in my life, I'll be lucky. (Applause.)

Oh, and by the way, if I look that good at 65, I'll be doubly blessed. (Applause, cheers.) But in the meantime, I'm blessed to be a part of her life and her American journey.

Mom, I love you. And on behalf of my step-father, my father, and my dear friend Joe, it gives me great pleasure to introduce the nation to someone I hope and believe will be the next first lady of the United States, Teresa Heinz Kerry. Thank you very much.

(Sustained applause, cheers, music.)

MRS. KERRY: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I love you, too. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you, Christopher. Your father would be very proud of you and your brothers. (Applause, cheers.) And I love you, and I love our family.

My name is Teresa Heinz Kerry. (Applause, cheers.) And by now, I hope it will come as no surprise that I have something to say.

(Applause and cheers.)

Tonight as I have done throughout this campaign, I would like to speak to you from the heart. Y a todos los Hispanos y los Latinos -- (cheers and applause) -- a toutes, les Franco-Americaines, a tuti l'Italiani -- (cheers and applause) -- a toda a suvilla (ph) portugueza (ph) y brasileras (speaks Portuguese) -- and to all the continental Africans living in this country, and to all the new Americans in our country. I invite you to join in our conversation and together with us work towards the noblest purpose of all, a free, good and democratic society. (Applause and cheers.)

I am grateful -- I am so grateful for the opportunity to stand before you and to say a few words about my husband John Kerry and why I firmly believe that he should be the next president of the United States. (Applause and cheers.)

This is such a powerful moment for me. Like many other Americans, like many of you, and like even more your parents and grandparents, I was not born in this country. And as I've -- as you have seen, I grew up in East Africa, in Mozambique, in a land that was then under a dictatorship. My father -- a wonderful, caring man who practiced medicine for 43 years and who taught me how to understand disease and wellness -- only got to vote for the first time when he was 73 years old. (Scattered applause.) That's what happens in dictatorships.

As a young woman, I attended Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa, which was then not segregated. But I witnessed the weight of apartheid everywhere around me. And so, with my fellow students, we marched in the streets of Johannesburg against its extension into higher education. (Cheers, applause.) This was the late 1950s, at the dawn of the civil rights marches in America. And as history records, our efforts in South Africa failed and the higher education apartheid act passed. Apartheid tightened its ugly grip, the Sharpsville riots followed, and Nelson Mandela was arrested and sent to Robben Island.

I learned something then, and I believe it still. There is a value in taking a stand whether or not anybody may be noticing it, and whether or not it is a risky thing to do.

(Applause, cheers.) And if even those who are in danger can raise their lonely voices, isn't it more that is required of all of us in this land where liberty had her birth?

I have a very personal feeling about how special America is. And I know how precious freedom is. It is a sacred gift sanctified by those who have lived it and those who have died defending it. (Applause, cheers.) My right to speak my mind, to have a voice, to be what some have called opinionated -- (applause, cheers) -- (laughs) -- is a right I deeply and profoundly cherish. And my only hope is that one day soon, women who have all earned their right to their opinions -- (cheers, applause) -- instead of being called opinionated will be called smart and well informed, just like men. (Cheers, applause.)

Tonight I want to remember my mother's warmth, generosity, wisdom and hopefulness, and thank her for all the sacrifices she made on our behalf -- like so many other mothers.

And this evening I want to acknowledge and honor the women of this world whose wise voices for much too long have been excluded and discounted. (Cheers, applause.) It is time -- (cheers, applause) -- it is time for the world to hear women's voices in full and at last. (Cheers, applause.)

In the past year I have been privileged to meet with Americans all across this land. They voiced many different concerns, but one they all share was about America's role in the world, what we want this great country of ours to stand for. To me, one of the best faces America has ever projected is the face of a Peace Corps volunteer. (Cheers, applause.) That face symbolizes this country: young, curious, brimming with idealism and hope and a real, honest compassion. Those young people convey an idea of America that is all about heart, creativity, generosity and confidence, a practical, can- do sense, and a big, big smile.

For many generations of people around this globe, that is what America has represented: a symbol of hope, a beacon brightly lit by the optimism of its people, people coming from all over the world. Americans believed that they could know all there is to know, build all there is to build,

break down any barrier, tear down any wall. We sent men to the moon. And when that was not far enough, we sent Galileo to Jupiter, we sent Cassini to Saturn, and Hubble to touch the very edges of the universe in the very dawn of time. (Cheers, applause.)

Americans showed the world what can happen when people believe in amazing possibilities. And that, for me, is the spirit of America, the America you and I are working for in this election. It is the America that people all across this nation and -- want to restore, from Iowa to California -- (cheers) -- from Florida to Michigan -- (cheers) -- and from Washington state to my home of Pennsylvania. (Cheers, applause.) It is the America the world wants to see, shining, hopeful and bright once again. And that is the America that my husband, John Kerry, wants to lead.

John believes in a bright future. He believes that we can and will invent the technologies, the new materials and the conservation methods of the future. (Applause.) He believes that alternative fuels will guarantee that not only will no American boy or girl go to war because of our dependence on foreign oil -- (cheers, applause) -- but also that our economy will forever will become independent of this need.

We can and we will create good competitive and sustainable jobs while still protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the health of our children, because good environmental policy is good economics. (Cheers and applause.)

John believes that we can and we will give every family and every child access to affordable health care, a good education and the tools to become self-reliant.

And John believes that we must and we should recognize the immense value of the care-givers in our country, those women and men who nurture and care for children, for elderly parents, for family members in need. These are the people who build and support our most valuable assets, our families. (Applause.)

Isn't it time -- isn't it time that we began working to give parents more opportunity with their children, and wouldn't it be wonderful for parents to be able to afford a full and good family life? (Applause.)

With John Kerry as president we can and we will protect our nation's security without sacrificing our civil liberties. (Applause.)

In short, John believes that we can and we must lead the world as America unique among nations, or should by showing the face, not of its fears but of our hopes.

(Applause, cheers.)

And John is a fighter. He earned his medals the old-fashioned way -- (applause, cheers) -- (laughs) -- by putting his life on the line for his country. And no one will defend this nation more vigorously than he will, and he will always, always be first in the line of fire. (Applause, cheers.) But he also knows the importance of getting it right.

For him, the names of many friends inscribed in the Vietnam Memorial, that cold stone, testify to the awful toll exacted by leaders who mistake stubbornness for strength. (Applause.) And that is why, as president, my husband will not fear disagreement or dissent. He believes that our voices, yours and mine, must be the voices of freedom, and if we do not speak, neither does she. (Applause, cheers.)

In America, the true patriots are those who dare speak truth to power -- (applause, cheers) -- and the truth that we must speak now is that America has responsibilities that it is time for us to accept again. (Applause.)

With John Kerry as president, global climate change and other threats to the health of our planet will begin to be reversed. (Cheers, applause.) With John Kerry as president, the alliances that bind the community of nations and that truly make our country and the world a safer place will be strengthened once more. (Applause.) And the Americans John and I have met in the course of this campaign all want America to provide hopeful leadership again. They want America to return to its moral bearings. (Cheers, applause.)

And it is not -- it is not -- a moralistic America they seek, it is a moral nation that understands and willingly shoulders its obligations, a moral nation that rejects thoughtless and greedy choices in favor of thoughtful and generous actions. (Cheers, applause.) And it is a moral nation that leads through the power of its ideas and the power of its example.

We can and we should join together to make the most of this great gift that we have all been given, this gift of freedom and this gift of America. In his first inaugural, speaking to a nation on the eve of war, Abraham Lincoln said we must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break, our bonds of affection. The mystic cords of memory stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land will yet swell the cords of the union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature. (Cheers, applause.)

Today the better angels of our nature are just waiting to be summoned. We only require a leader who is willing to call on them, a leader willing to draw again the mystic cords of our national memory and remind us of all that we as a people, everyday leaders, can do; of all that we as a nation stand for; and of all the immense possibility that still lies ahead. I think I've found that guy. (Cheers, applause.) And I married him. (Cheers.)

John Kerry will give us back our faith in America. He will restore our faith in ourselves and in the sense of limitless opportunity that has always been America's gift to the world. Together, we will lift everyone up. We have to. It's possible. And you know what? It's the American thing to do. (Cheers, applause.)

Good night and God bless you. (Cheers, applause.)