The Middlesex District Attorney's office had a special guest yesterday.
Middlesex DA Gerry Leone welcomed John Kerry, who on Tuesday was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the next Secretary of State. Kerry was a senator for Massachusetts from 1985 until his resignation to take up his new position earlier this week.
The stop was part of a tour Kerry is taking around the state as he prepares to take on his new responsibilities. His choice to stop by the Middlesex District Attorney's office was also a chance to catch up on an old place of employment.
According to Kerry's Senate web site, after graduating from Boston College Law School in 1976, he went to work as a top prosecutor in Middlesex County. He took on organized crime, fought for victims' rights and created programs for rape counseling. During his time in the office he was named the First Assistant District Attorney.
Kerry was welcomed Thursday by Leone and former Congressman Marty Meehan.
Leone started his introduction by referencing a scene in the television show M.A.S.H. where General MacArthur was supposed to visit the medical outpost but simply drove by without stopping.
"We knew that wouldn't happen with John Kerry," Leone said. "He is our most famous alumnus, he was our former first assistant, and he's stayed great and true to the office. We knew once he said he was coming to the office, no matter what position he holds, he was going to be there for us."
Meehan, who Kerry credited with hiring him to the district attorney's office originally, said he was proud of the former first assistant district attorney.
"John Kerry, when he was here, was a fabulous first assistant," he said. "He literally changed the way this office approached so many issues and set a high standard for assistant DAs who came after him. Now, not only does this country need him, but the world needs him. The fact that he's willing to take on this responsibility and to come by, we're just so proud, and it just proves that first assistants can make it."
Kerry talked about his early days in the Middlesex DA's office, at one point pointed out that though he worked for the department, he didn't work in the current location. He joked about the old offices in the same building as a jail in Cambridge.
"Thank you all, I'm very touched coming back here," Kerry said. "Although it's not the same building I worked in. I don't know what's wrong with you wusses. You don't like asbestos?"
The new Secretary of State was also nostalgic talking about his old position in the office and talked about the responsibility of working in the criminal court system.
"I loved the job of being a prosecutor," he said. "I loved getting in the courtroom. There is nothing more moving and, I think, dramatic, than getting 12 citizens to come in and they sit there in judgement. It's a remarkable responsibility and an incredible moment. To get to that final argument where you try to put all the pieces together — it's human drama."
Kerry also reminded those in attendance of how important their roles are.
"You're judgement is critical," he said. "It's critical to what happens to our communities, what happens to people's faith in the system and what happens to the people who are either the plaintiffs or the defendants. I thank you for doing what you do."
Kerry spoke about leaving Massachusetts to become the next Secretary of State and how he will not be leaving the Commonwealth behind. Click here to see that video.
Kerry also spoke about his new position, the necessity of the United States in international diplomacy and some of the challenges facing the country. Click here to see that video.