Sen. John Kerry starts off his 'Thank You' tour in Springfield - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Sen. John Kerry starts off his 'Thank You' tour in Springfield

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Newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry began his Thank You tour across the state Thursday morning at YouthBuild USA in Springfield.

"I just say to all of you, you have given me the privilege of a lifetime to represent this extraordinary Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a United States senator," said Kerry. "I can't think of any better work, better job, better opportunity and I just wanted to come out here and say thank you."

Kerry thanked his supporters for allowing him to serve nearly three decades in the Senate.

"This is not an ending," said Kerry. "I am privileged now to start four years of a journey with the president of the United States and the administration to try and help bring peace."

Around 100 packed into the event. And many say it's an experience they'll always remember.

"It felt indescribable," said a member of YouthBuild, Latefa Hargrove. "It's just an experience that you never really get to have every day."

"It's not too often that you get to meet a senator or a future secretary of state, I'm very excited to meet him," said Springfield Central High School student Raekwan Wheeler.

Kerry began serving in Senate back in 1985. He's headed the Foreign Relations Committee since 2009. And, as he prepares to begin his new role he spoke Thursday of the challenges that lie ahead.

"I think the biggest challenge is really picking the priorities carefully and hiring the talent that we need to delegate a lot of major responsibilities," said Kerry.

Kerry has a long history here in the Baystate. His great grandfather was a U.S. senator and speaker of the House of Representatives. And he's the direct descendent of the state's first Gov. John Winthrop. As Kerry bids farewell, he assured his supporters he will not forget about the Commonwealth.

"When we get to that cabinet table I'm willing to say to the secretary of HUD or the secretary of transportation, 'hey, remember Massachusetts, we need to get this project' and so on and so forth. I'm still going to be fighting for the state of Massachusetts," said Kerry.

Kerry's resignation from the Senate officially takes effect Friday when he will be sworn in as the nation's 65th secretary of state.

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