At a Glance
- Career History: U.S. Representative (January 2001-November 2010); Counsel, House International Relations Committee (1995-1999); Lawyer, Baker & McKenzie, (1993-1994); Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, State Department (1992-1993)
- Birthday: Sept. 15, 1959
- Hometown: Highland Park, Ill.
- Alma Mater: B.A.-History, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., (1981), M.S.-Economics, London School of Economics, London, England (1982), J.D.-Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. (1992)
- Spouse: none (divorced June 2009 from Kimberly Vertolli)
- Religion: Congregationalist
- Committees: Appropriations ; H ealth, Labor, Education, Pensions ; Aging
- DC Office: 1030 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515Phone: (202) 225-4835
Path to Power
Kirk was born in Champaign, Ill., and grew up in Chatham, Downers Grove and Kenilworth. After graduating from New Trier High School in Winnetka, he enrolled in classes at Blackburn College in Carlinville and the Universidad Nacional Autonoma in Mexico before attaining a bachelor's in history from Cornell University in 1981 and a master's from the London School of Economics in 1982.
Hill Aide and Navy Pilot
In 1984, Kirk joined the staff of Rep. John Porter (R-Ill.), then the incumbent for the 10th district. He was promoted to chief of staff just three years later.
Kirk is actively involved in issues that most voters do not associate with the Republican Party: He is co-chair of the Task Force on Illegal Guns, a member of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus and co-chair of the Great Lakes Task Force.
"He is, as we have stated before, one of the most independent members of Congress," wrote the Daily Herald in an October 2008 electoral endorsement.
Kirk is deeply immersed in the network of Washington, D.C.'s centrist Republicans, with active membership in the Main Street Partnership, a coalition of centrist Republicans; the Republican Majority for Choice, which supports family planning and abortion rights; and Republicans for Environmental Protection, which promotes environmental conservation.
John McCain, also a Main Street Partnership member, endorsed Kirk in his 2000 House campaign and was a lead participant at Kirk 2006 reelection fundraisers. Kirk returned the favor by raising funds for McCain's presidential campaign in 2008.