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McKean's relationship with John Kerry goes back over 25 years. McKean, 56, came to Washington in 1987 to work in Kerry's Senate office, eventually becoming his chief of staff, staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a key player in his 2004 presidential campaign. When Kerry became secretary of State, he tapped Mc-Kean for policy planning. In this position, McKean assists Kerry in shaping the State Department's mission abroad while overseeing the organization's bureaucracy. "It's a big job, it's a very big world, and there are a lot of problems," he said. "But this is a place that I couldn't be happier to have wound up." Before joining Kerry's office, McKean taught in Swaziland and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, then acquired graduate degrees from Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Duke University's School of Law, both in 1986. More recently, he served as a senior adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2012, authored three books on American politics, was the CEO of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation in Boston, and was a public-policy scholar for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. McKean says his new position at State is "the best job I'll ever have." 

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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