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The Honorable Ron Kirk

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Information about The Honorable Ron Kirk

Profile image of The Honorable Ron Kirk

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Mayor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere Near Water
Favorite Quote:
If You Find Yourself In A Hole, Stop Digging.

Birthplace

Born:
6/27/1954
Birth Location:
Austin, Texas

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Mayor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere Near Water
Favorite Quote:
If You Find Yourself In A Hole, Stop Digging.

Birthplace

Born:
6/27/1954
Birth Location:
Austin
See how The Honorable Ron Kirk is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Former Mayor of Dallas Ron Kirk was born in Austin, Texas on June 27, 1954. While attending John H. Reagan High School, Kirk was elected president of the student body. He also played basketball and traveled in Europe with the school choir. Upon graduation in 1972, Kirk enrolled in Austin College, where he earned his B.A. degree in 1976 with honors in political science and sociology. From there, he went on to earn his J.D. degree from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin.

Kirk then moved to Dallas and began practicing law with the firm of Bennett & Cain. In 1981, he left private practice and went to work for then Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen. When Bentsen was appointed U.S. Secretary of the Treasury by President Bill Clinton, Kirk accompanied him to Washington, D.C. In 1994, he left Washington and returned to his native Texas, where he became Secretary of State under Texas governor Ann Richards. The following year, at the urging of the Dallas business community, Kirk ran for mayor of Dallas, and won sixty-two percent of the vote, becoming the first African American mayor of Dallas, and of any major Texas city. As mayor, Kirk gained a reputation for building coalitions. He also instituted the “Dallas Plan,” his vision for the City of Dallas. Kirk was widely credited with jump-starting the city’s economy. In 1999, Kirk was reelected in a landslide election, winning seventy-four percent of the vote. He stepped down as mayor in 2001 and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Phil Gramm. Kirk returned to private practice, joining the firm of Gardere Wynne Sewell, where he served as a partner. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Kirk as U.S. Trade Representative.

Kirk remains active in the community, as former president of the Dallas Zoological Society and as chair of the South Dallas/Fair Park Trust Fund Advisory Board. He also serves as a trustee of Austin College, as well as on the board of directors for Brinker International, Dean Foods and PetSmart.

Kirk and his wife, Matrice Ellis-Kirk, have two daughters.

Kirk was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 25, 2004.

See how The Honorable Ron Kirk is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Ron Kirk's interview, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of The Honorable Ron Kirk's interview, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ron Kirk lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ron Kirk describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ron Kirk talks about his mother's childhood in Manor, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ron Kirk talks about his paternal great-grandfather who was a Buffalo Soldier
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ron Kirk talks about his parents' home and work lives
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ron Kirk recalls how his father became the first African American postal clerk in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Ron Kirk lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Ron Kirk describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Ron Kirk explains discriminatory measures that prevented African American voting in the South
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ron Kirk recalls civil rights struggles in Austin, Texas in the 1950s and 1960s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ron Kirk remembers his childhood neighborhood of East Austin in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ron Kirk describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ron Kirk talks about his family church in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ron Kirk recalls his childhood love of the outdoors
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ron Kirk describes his school experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ron Kirk remembers inspiring teachers from his schooldays in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ron Kirk describes his aspiration to be a lawyer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ron Kirk remembers his extracurricular activities at John H. Reagan High School in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ron Kirk recalls tribulations he faced attending a newly integrated high school in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ron Kirk remembers his acquaintance with radical politics through the University of Texas in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ron Kirk recalls childhood influences on his political consciousness
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ron Kirk remembers his decision to attend Austin College in Sherman, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ron Kirk lists professors who influenced him at Austin College in Sherman, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ron Kirk reflects upon his experience at Austin College in Sherman, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ron Kirk remembers his decision to take time off from Austin College in Sherman, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Ron Kirk talks about attending University of Texas at Austin School of Law in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ron Kirk remembers Charles Alan Wright and the Legal Eagles at University of Texas at Austin School of Law in Austin, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ron Kirk talks about clerking at Spivey & Grigg in Austin, Texas as a law student
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ron Kirk remembers learning to be a trial lawyer in Dallas, Texas in 1979
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ron Kirk recalls his decision to transition from trial lawyer to politician
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ron Kirk recalls his initial experiences upon moving to Washington, D.C. in 1981
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ron Kirk describes his unique position as an African American defense staffer
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ron Kirk recalls cooperation between Democrats and Republicans in the 1980s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ron Kirk talks about his return to Texas as chief lobbyist for the City of Dallas in 1983
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Ron Kirk recalls the increasing diversity of Dallas, Texas politics when he became city lobbyist
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Ron Kirk remembers significant events from his time as lobbyist for the City of Dallas, Texas
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ron Kirk remembers leaving the City of Dallas, Texas government to return to private law practice
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ron Kirk explains how he was appointed secretary of state for Texas
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ron Kirk remembers highlights of his Texas secretary of state term
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ron Kirk speculates on Katherine Harris' role in the 2000 presidential election
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ron Kirk reflects on Ann Richards' loss of the 1994 gubernatorial election to George Walker Bush
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ron Kirk recounts his election as mayor of Dallas, Texas
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ron Kirk recalls his tenure as mayor of Dallas, Texas
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Ron Kirk talks about campaigning in a multi-ethnic city
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Ron Kirk talks about governing a multi-ethnic Dallas, Texas
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ron Kirk reflects upon his accomplishments as mayor of Dallas, Texas, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ron Kirk reflects upon his accomplishments as mayor of Dallas, Texas, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ron Kirk recalls his decision to run for United States Senate
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ron Kirk reflects upon losing his United States Senate campaign
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ron Kirk talks about his career plans
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Ron Kirk describes his hopes for the African American community, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Ron Kirk describes his hopes for the African American community, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Ron Kirk remembers an important encounter with a constituent during his mayoral campaign in Dallas, Texas
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Ron Kirk reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Ron Kirk describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Ron Kirk reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Ron Kirk narrates his photographs