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Mark Kirk


Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 10th district
Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 3, 2001
Preceded by John Porter

Born September 15, 1959 (1959-09-15) (age 50)
Champaign, Illinois
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kimberly Vertolli (2001-2009) (divorced)[1]
Residence Highland Park, Illinois[2]
Alma mater Cornell University
London School of Economics
Georgetown University Law Center
Occupation attorney, politician
Religion United Church of Christ[3]
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1989-present
Rank Commander
Unit U.S. Navy Reserves

Mark Steven Kirk (born September 15, 1959) is a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Illinois's 10th congressional district since 2001. He is the Republican nominee for the United States Senate in the 2010 election in Illinois.

Contents

Personal history

Kirk was born in Champaign, Illinois, graduated from Joseph Sears School in Kenilworth, a Chicago suburb, in 1973, and New Trier East High School in 1977. He attended the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México before graduating cum laude in history from Cornell University. Kirk received a master's degree from the London School of Economics, and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Kirk finalized his divorce from his wife of 8 years, Kimberly Vertolli, in the summer of 2009.[4][5] Reports noted that they remain friends and the legal filings related to the divorce will not be sealed.[5] The couple had no children.[6]

Naval Reserve Service

In 1989, Kirk was commissioned as an intelligence officer in the Naval Reserve. In the Navy, Kirk served during conflicts with Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo. He served aboard the USS Normandy and USS John C Stennis. Kirk also served three tours in Panama.[6] He is one of only two members of Congress serving as a drilling reservist one weekend a month and two weeks a year.

In December of 2008, Kirk became the first sitting Congressman to be deployed to an “imminent danger area” since 1942 when he deployed to Afghanistan.[7] When he returned, Kirk advocated for a new surge of troops to Afghanistan.[8] Kirk returned to Afghanistan for a second deployment in December of 2009.[9]

Career prior to election to Congress

Kirk worked on the staff of his predecessor, Congressman John Porter, and eventually became his chief of staff.

Kirk then practiced law with Baker & McKenzie (1993–94) before being named as a Counsel to the House International Relations Committee.

U.S. House of Representatives

Election and re-elections

Kirk defeated 10 candidates for Congress in the 2000 Republican primary. He then won in general elections with 51% (2000), 69% (2002), 64% (2004), 53% (2006) and 54% (2008). His opponents were Lauren Beth Gash, Hank Perrit, Lee Goodman and, most recently, Dan Seals (06 & 08).

In 2008, Kirk defeated Democratic challenger Dan Seals by a six-point margin.

Committee assignments

Political actions and positions

The High-Potency Marijuana Sentencing Enhancement Act of 2009 (H.R. 2848)

This would increase the penalties for the possession with intent to distribute, manufacture, importation and exportation to maximum fines of $1 million for an individual and $5 million for a group, with a maximum sentence of 25 years from the standard sentencing for marijuana which calls for a maximum fine of $250,000 for an individual, $1 million for a group and up to five years in prison.[10] Kirk said that as kush may sell for up to $600 (USD) per ounce these increases are justified, saying that "if you can make as much money selling pot as cocaine, you should face the same penalties."[11] It should be noted that marijuana has caused zero deaths, unlike cocaine. "I don't know what's more ridiculous about this," said Bruce Mirken, communications director of the Marijuana Policy Project, "Kirk's incredible scientific ignorance or the hypocrisy of a man who's taken thousands of dollars from the alcohol and tobacco industries going after marijuana."[12]

North Chicago VA Hospital

Kirk worked for years with 10th district veterans to stop the federal government’s attempt to shut down the North Chicago VA hospital and send area veterans to hospitals in Chicago instead. Kirk argued that it was foolish to close a VA hospital in one of the few areas where the veteran population was increasing.

In 2003, Kirk convinced the Navy to move their mental health unit from the Great Lakes Naval Base to the North Chicago VA. In 2005 the VA and the Navy agreed to fully integrate the Great Lakes Naval Hospital and the North Chicago VA into a single facility, a first of its kind joint facility for both veterans and active-duty military personnel. Kirk secured over $100 million in upgrades and improvements to the hospital.[13]

The new facility is to be named after Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell.[14] It will employ over 1,100 people.[15]

Gasoline Sanctions against Iran

Kirk is a key architect of US sanctions targeting Iran’s gasoline imports.[16] In 2005, Kirk and Democrat Rob Andrews first proposed targeting Iran’s gasoline imports as a way to stop Iran’s nuclear program.[17] In 2007, Kirk and Andrews introduced the Iran Sanctions Enhancement Act[18], which was incorporated into the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009, which passed the House on December 15, 2009.[19]

BP Dumping Plan

Kirk was an outspoken opponent of British Petroleum’s plan to dump thousands of gallons of ammonia and heavy metal into Lake Michigan as part of its expansion of its refinery in Whiting, Indiana. Faced with bi-partisan opposition from the Illinois Congressional Delegation, BP backed down.[20]

Stimulus Bill

Kirk introduced an amendment to the 2009 stimulus bill to ensure that former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who had been arrested for corruption but not yet impeached, could not access any of the stimulus money slated to go to the states.[21] On his Congressional campaign website, Kirk stated that he works to advance a suburban agenda that is "pro-defense, pro-personal responsibility, pro-environment, and pro-science". He also claims that he wrote a number of provisions which became law, including funding for commuter rail, improving veteran's health care, ensuring military voting, and boosting aviation security.[22]

Kirk was one of over 150 co-sponsors on H.R. 810, the Stem Cell bill, which passed the House in 2005 but never became law.

Kirk is co-chair of the "Tuesday Group", a coalition of 40 centrist Republican Member of Congress.[23] Kirk is a member of some moderate to liberal Republican groups such as the Republican Main Street Partnership, the Republican Majority for Choice, Republicans for Choice, the Republican Leadership Council, and Republicans for Environmental Protection.

Kirk has consistently supported increases in "Impact Aid" for government school districts that have children of military personnel as students. [24]

On November 5, 2005, while speaking at Northwestern University, Kirk was asked how he felt about stricter visa policies applied to Arab foreign nationals seeking entry to the United States. Kirk answered: "I'm okay with discrimination against young Arab males from terrorist-producing states. I'm okay with that. I think that when we look at the threat that's out there, young men between, say, the ages of 18 and 25 from a couple of countries, I believe a certain amount of intense scrutiny should be placed on them."[25][26] He said that the statement was "politically uncomfortable", and later issued a statement to clarify his position on the issue: "We need to strengthen our visa entry process to guard against the threat, and we need intense scrutiny on applicants from terrorist producing countries," Kirk said. "Ignoring that reality would only do a disservice to our country's security."[27]

Kirk has spoken out about protecting children on the Internet and has introduced bills to require parental permission for certain networking sites such as Second Life.[28] In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act that would ban online poker.[29] and H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[30]

Kirk has consistently supported increases in "Impact Aid" for government school districts that have children of military personnel as students. [24]

In July 2007, he said: "A slower rate of growth of Mexico's population would improve the economy of Mexico. It would also reduce the environmental pressure on Mexico's ecosystem. But a slower rate of growth would also reduce the long-term illegal immigration pressure on America's borders"[31]

Kirk was endorsed for reelection by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times,[32] Lake County News Sun,[33] the Pioneer Press,[34] the Daily Herald and the Jewish Political Alliance of Illinois.

On January 6, Kirk returned to Illinois after completing a tour of duty in Kandahar, Afghanistan; a press release on his official web site touted the occasion as "the first time a U.S. Representative-reservist has deployed to an imminent danger area since World War II".[35] Kirk appeared on the Fox News Channel for an interview upon returning to the U.S.[36]

In June 2009, Kirk made a trip to China. He told a gathering at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that he said: "the budget numbers that the US government has put forward should not be believed."[37]

Kirk recently held a press conference with Congressman Peter Roskam on legislation they introduced to strengthen food safety laws in the wake of tainted food supplies.

On February 13 Kirk offered a resolution on the subject of the trial of the Iranian Bahá'í leadership co-sponsored by seven others in H. RES. 175 - "Condemning the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha'i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights", which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.[38] The situation has gathered international attention including defense of Nobel Laureate attorney Shirin Ebadi in June[39] after she received threats in April warning her against making speeches abroad, and defending Iran's minority Baha'i community[40] - see Arrest of Bahá'í leaders.

In June 2009 Kirk introduced legislation to increase the penalties for selling kush, a high potency set of strains of marijuana.[41] The High-Potency Marijuana Sentencing Enhancement Act of 2009 (H.R. 2848)[42] increases the penalties for the possession with intent to distribute, manufacture, importation and exportation to maximum fines of $1 million for an individual and $5 million for a group, with a maximum sentence of 25 years from the standard sentencing for marijuana which calls for a maximum fine of $250,000 for an individual, $1 million for a group and up to five years in prison.[43] Kirk said that as kush may sell for up to $600 (USD) per ounce these increases in penalties are justified, saying that "if you can make as much money selling pot as cocaine, you should face the same penalties."[43]

Campaign for Senate

On July 20, 2009, Kirk announced his candidacy for Roland Burris's Senate seat. During his announcement, Kirk was heckled by a few protesters who shouted "Health care now!" He responded with, "I can see from the crowd here that the Democratic Party appears to be very worried about me, which is why they're here."[44]

On August 24, 2009, Kirk held two back-to-back town hall meetings in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Kirk admitted that some health reform is needed, but claimed that instead of the US having 45.7 million uninsured the real number was closer to 7.8 million uninsured, because the larger number included "9.5 million 'non-citizens,' 12 million who were eligible for existing public health care coverage and another 16.4 million who were either in higher income brackets and didn’t purchase insurance or were temporarily uninsured."[45]

Kirk remains a strong fundraiser, raising $1.6 million in the third quarter of 2009 and $1.9 million in the fourth quarter. Kirk ended the fourth quarter with $3.2 million in the bank.[46]

Electoral history

Illinois's 10th congressional district: Results 2000–2008[47]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
2000 Lauren Beth Gash 115,924 49% Mark Kirk 121,582 51%
2002 Henry H. Perritt, Jr. 58,300 31% Mark Kirk 128,611 69%
2004 Lee Goodman 99,218 36% Mark Kirk 177,493 64%
2006 Daniel J. Seals 94,278 47% Mark Kirk 107,929 53% *
2008 Daniel J. Seals 138,176 47% Mark Kirk 153,082 53%
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2006, write-ins received 1 votes.

Footnotes

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "About Mark". U.S. House of Representatives. http://www.house.gov/kirk/about_mark.shtml. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  3. ^ "Barack Obama, candidate for President, is 'UCC'". United Church of Christ. February 9, 2007. http://www.ucc.org/news/barack-obama-candidate.html. Retrieved December 18, 2009. 
  4. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/05/rep-mark-kirks-divorce-to_n_212082.html
  5. ^ http://www.politico.com/blogs/anneschroeder/0609/Mark_Kirk_gets_some_dates.html
  6. ^ "Veterans in the US House of Representatives 109th Congress" (PDF). Navy League. http://web.archive.org/web/20070626235918/http://www.navyleague.org/legislative_affairs/HouseVets.pdf. Retrieved 2006-12-09. 
  7. ^ http://kirk.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3197&Itemid=98
  8. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UGUPxLEa2w
  9. ^ http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/elections/chi-kirk-senate-race-08-jan08,0,2104241.story
  10. ^ http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.2848:
  11. ^ http://www.house.gov/list/press/il10_kirk/kush.html
  12. ^ http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/590/mark_kirk_marijuana_bill_kush_25_years
  13. ^ http://kirk.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2965&Itemid=129
  14. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1PolQLa5zU&feature=related
  15. ^ http://kirk.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2965&Itemid=129
  16. ^ http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/11/drop_war_talk_cut_off_irans_ga.html
  17. ^ http://www.opinionjournal.com/wsj/?id=110008382
  18. ^ http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-2880
  19. ^ http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-2194
  20. ^ http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-web_bp-permitaug24,0,3232168.story
  21. ^ http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2009/01/kirk-plans-legislation-that-would-block-money-to-governors-office.html
  22. ^ http://www.kirkforcongress.com/?q=about
  23. ^ [2]
  24. ^ a b Susnjara, Bob (2006-03-16). "North Chicago schools getting senators’ help". Daily Herald. http://www.dailyherald.com/search/searchstory.asp?id=168147. Retrieved 2006-03-22. 
  25. ^ Fuller, Janet Rausa (November 6), "Kirk 'OK' with visa bias against some Arab men" ( – Scholar search), Chicago Sun-Times, http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4155/is_20051106/ai_n15910892 
  26. ^ [3]
  27. ^ "Obama rips Kirk nod to anti-Arab bias" ( – 10&as_yhi=November 10&btnG=Search Scholar search), Chicago Sun-Times, 2005, http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4155/is_20051110/ai_n15911794 
  28. ^ Congressman Mark Steven Kirk - 10th District of Illinois
  29. ^ Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4411
  30. ^ Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4777
  31. ^ http://thecapitolfaxblog.com/2009/09/02/quinn-poll-claims-big-lead-kirk-whacked-on-immigration-davis-flubs/
  32. ^ Chicago Sun Times Endorsement
  33. ^ Lake County News Sun Endorsement
  34. ^ Pioneer Press Endorsement
  35. ^ United States House of Representatives (2009-01-05). "Kirk Completes Reserve Tour of Duty in Afghanistan". Press release. http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/il10_kirk/Kirk_Completes_Reserve_Tour.html. 
  36. ^ Hill Hero. Happening Now. Fox News: January 6, 2009
  37. ^ http://www.straitstimes.com/Overcoming%2BThe%2BStorm/Latest%2BStories/Story/STIStory_387854.html
  38. ^ House of Representatives, Congressional Record (2009-02-13). "Condemning the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha'i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights. (Introduced in House)". Press release. http://www.thomas.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.RES.175:. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  39. ^ The Chatham News (2009-02-24). "Local Baha'is worry about their fellow believers in Iran". Press release. http://www.chathamdailynews.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1447519. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  40. ^ BBC NEWS. Top Iranian dissident threatened
  41. ^ "Congressman Wants to Tackle "Super Pot"". WGIL News. http://www.wgil.com/localnews.php?xnewsaction=fullnews&newsarch=062009&newsid=189. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  42. ^ "111th Congress 1st Session: H.R. 2848". United States Government Printing Office. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-111hr2848IH/pdf/BILLS-111hr2848IH.pdf. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  43. ^ a b "Kirk and Law Enforcement: Super-Marijuana “Kush” Hits Suburbs". June 15, 2009. http://www.house.gov/list/press/il10_kirk/kush.html. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  44. ^ [4]
  45. ^ Chicago Tribune, August 3, 2009
  46. ^ http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/76543-early-2009-fundraising-numbers-set-stage-for-2010-election
  47. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/index.html. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 

References

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Edward Porter
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 10th congressional district

2001 – present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jack Ryan
(withdrew)
Alan Keyes
(general election)
Republican Party nominee for United States Senator from Illinois
(Class 3)

2010
Succeeded by
Current nominee







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