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Senate Confirms Kerry to Lead State Department: By a vote of 94 to three, the Senate on Tuesday approved the nomination of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to be the next secretary of state, succeeding Hillary Clinton. Kerry is scheduled to formally assume the post after Clinton steps down on Friday, reported the Los Angeles Times. Clinton served during the first four years of the Obama Administration. Obama nominated Kerry, a long-time senator, for the post in December. Kerry's nomination hearing took place last week in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the panel that he led during the 112th Congress.