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(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The United States Senate confirmed Senator John Kerry as the next Secretary of State on Tuesday afternoon, by an overwhelming 94-3 margin. After serving in the Senate and on the Foreign Relations committee for the past 28 years, Kerry will assume the cabinet position this Friday following Hillary Clinton’s departure.

After gaining unanimous support from the committee earlier in the day, Kerry faced virtually no obstacles in the final Senate vote. The three votes against him came from Texas Republicans John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, along with Jim Inhofe (R-OK).

Kerry enters the State Department facing a multitude of challenges: the continued crisis in Syria, continued Islamist pressure in Mali, nuclear threats from North Korea, and the increasing hostility between Iran and Israel.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who will take Kerry’s seat as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, praised Kerry, saying, “Sen. Kerry will need no introduction to the world’s political and military leaders and will begin day one fully conversant not only with the intricacies of U.S. foreign policy, but able to act on a multitude of international stages.”

Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick will announce his interim selection for Kerry’s Senate seat tomorrow, and a special election for a full term will be held this summer.

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