Vanessa Kerry ’95 To Speak At All-School

She addressed many of the nation’s most influential politicians at the Democratic National Convention. She appeared before thousands of young people at the MTV Video Music Awards. And next month, Vanessa Kerry ’95 will be the keynote speaker at a special All-School-Meeting. Ms. Kerry, an Andover graduate, is the daughter of presidential candidate John Kerry. She will address the student body on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards campaign on October 27. The All-School-Meeting Committee has yet to finalize plans for the format of the presentation, but Interim Secretary of the Academy and Member of the ASM Committee Michael Ebner anticipates that the presentation will include time for students to ask questions. “We told her to direct the speech toward why her father should be president,” Mr. Ebner said. The committee decided to find speakers for both sides, rather than ask the visitors to simply talk about the importance of voting. Ms. Kerry will speak on behalf of her father. To represent the Bush campaign, the committee has tentatively scheduled an October 13 visit by Barbara Bodine, the former ambassador to Yemen and the coordinator for post-conflict reconstruction of Baghdad and central Iraq. Kennedy School of Government Professor Roger Porter, who served as an economic and domestic advisor to the Reagan, Ford, and Bush administrations, will deliver a speach on October 20, according to tentative plans. “Our object is to be balanced,” said Chair of the ASM Committee and Instructor in History Derek Williams. “We don’t just want to import two people to rah-rah for each camp. We want to provide students with both points of view.” Mr. Williams said that a speaker from the Bush campaign will likely be secured sometime this week. Earlier attempts to bring retired Senator Alen Simpson failed, but the committee does have backups and expects to find a strong speaker. Ms. Kerry herself originally approached Mrs. Chase with the hope of speaking at Andover. Her visit to the Academy has been in the works for some time now, but was only finalized recently. The ASM committee aims to encourage political discussion while remaining fair to both sides of the campaign, according to Mr. Williams. “It is up to us as a committee to offer students as broad an exposure as possible. This is the campaign season now. We strive to get some balance in the views of the political speakers, and we hope that what they say is interesting,” Mr. Williams added. Last year, the administration canceled a scheduled speech by Ralph Nader after he announced his decision to enter the race for president. “Nader was being brought as a speaker of general issues. He was being payed a substantial amount. We don’t pay political candidates to come speak, so it was no longer appropriate to bring him to speak,” Mr. Ebner explained.