Secretary of State Kerry Speaks at UVA - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Secretary of State Kerry Speaks at UVA

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The world is reacting to a speech given at the University of Virginia on Wednesday. Newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry delivered his first foreign policy address in front of a crowd of students, faculty, and service members at Old Cabell Hall.

Following quick introductions by UVA's President Teresa Sullivan and Congressman Robert Hurt, Virginia's newest senator, Tim Kaine, introduced Kerry.

Kerry hit Congress hard from the start of his speech. He says looming budget cuts to foreign affairs threaten America's ability to promote its interests and security around the world.

Kerry is calling on Congress to invest in a strong foreign policy. Right now, the state department makes up a little more than one percent of the national budget.

"Foreign assistance is not a giveaway.  It's not charity.  It is an investment in a strong America and a free world," said Kerry. 

Kerry says diplomatic investments stand up for American businesses and promote American values abroad.

"We're actually helping brave people build a better, more democratic future and making sure we don't pay more later in American blood and treasure," said Kerry.

Kerry received a roaring applause from the UVA crowd when he said he can't help other countries create order until America puts its own fiscal house in order.

The secretary's foreign policy will also focus on promoting human rights and global health initiatives.   

Kerry closed by stating, and calling to Congress, "what happens 'over there' matters right here, and it matters that we get this right."

"I think he made a very strong case - both economically for the U.S. here at home - and then also based on our moral values," said Zachary Blackburn, a third year student at UVA.

Kerry kicks off a 10-day, 9-nation overseas trip Sunday to begin spreading the diplomatic message he unveiled at UVA.


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