J. Robert Kerrey (b. August 27, 1943) was a U.S. Senator from Nebraska (1989-2001) and a Democrat. As of 2004 he is president of New School University.
Kerrey was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and attended the local public schools before graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1966. Afterwards, he served in the United States Navy SEAL special forces unit, 1966-1969, was wounded in the Vietnam War, and awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Returning to Nebraska, he operated a chain of restaurants and fitness centers from 1972-1982 before serving as Governor of Nebraska from 1983-1987. Elected to the United States Senate in 1988, he was reelected in 1994 and served as the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 104th Congress before retiring in 2001. An attempt to gain the 1992 Democratic nomination for president failed due to a lack of fundraising and poor results in early primaries.
In May 2001, Kerrey admitted to his role in the killing of civilians in the isolated peasant village of Thanh Phong, Vietnam on February 25, 1969 while serving as a Navy SEAL in the Vietnam War.