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Mark Kirk

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Mark Kirk (1959-) is a U.S Representative (R-Illinois 10th district), first elected in 2000.[1] He is a candidate for the U.S. Senate, running against the retiring Roland Burris, who was appointed to fill the seat of Barack Obama when Obama became President. [2] In the Senate campaign, he intends to appeal to a broad Republican coalition, emulating the victory of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, although his main primary opponent charged he was actually a liberal and did not reflect conservative ideals.
If you’re the right kind of Republican who can put together a broad coalition of Republicans, independents, and some Democrats, you can repeat the Massachusetts miracle. [Scott Brown's] victory electrified Republicans in Illinois."[3]

A commander in U.S. Navy intelligence, he deployed to Afghanistan in December 2008, and has foreign affairs experience both in the executive branch and in non-governmental organizations. He has positioned himself as supporting a "Suburban Agenda" that is "pro-defense, pro-personal responsibility, pro-environment, and pro-science," and identifies as a moderate member of the Republican Tuesday Group.

His district is a suburb north of Chicago. He serves on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee and the bipartisan House US-China Working Group.

Committee assignments - 111th Congress

Foreign affairs positions

Rep. Kirk has been highly complimentary of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; calling her "the superstar of the Cabinet. Everything she touches is well run." Speaking of her policy role, says Biden opposed sending 21,000 additional troops and Clinton favored it. "It turned into Biden vs. Hillary, and she crushed him." [4]

He is an adviser to the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.

Early career

After law school, he joined the staff of his predecessor in Congress, John Porter. He then worked for the International Finance Corporation at the World Bank, and then became Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for inter-American Affairs at the U.S. State Department from 1992-93. Next, he practiced law at Baker & McKenzie, and then joined the staff of the U.S. House International Relations Committee.


He has served in the Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti and Bosnia, and received a Navy “Intelligence Officer of the Year” in 1999 for his combat service in Kosovo. He was the first member of Congress to serve in an "imminent danger zone" since 1942 when he deployed as a reservist to Afghanistan in December 2008.

In Afghanistan, he was assigned, for three weeks, to International Security Assistance Force Regional Command South, in Kandahar, developing a counternarcotics plan for southern Afghanistan. [5]

There are conflicting reports, including statements he made on the House floor, of his work with the Central Intelligence Agency, either as a Naval Intelligence officer detailed to CIA, or during his State Department work.


Foreign policy

He supports sending more troops to Afghanistan, where he has personally served, even if Republicans oppose the cost. In a forum on foreign policy, he supported providing large bonuses to military personnel who commit to service in Afghanistan for the duration of the war, and developing a high level of language skill. [6]

A strong supporter of the State of Israel, he plans a visit there in alternate years. [7] Co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Israel at the UN, he has questioned the Goldstone Report on the 2009 Gaza conflict and the UN Human Rights Council, saying "The UN Human Rights Council seems more concerned with castigating the State of Israel than ending genocide in Darfur, stopping mass murder in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or ending human rights abuses in countries like Iran and North Korea...Given the Human Rights Council's decision to prioritize the castigation of Israel at the expense of the rights of people in Darfur, North Korea, Iran and Venezuela, the U.S. Administration should reconsider its membership" [8]


He originally voted for cap and trade, but changed his position and made it clear. "When I decided to run for the Senate," he said, "I spent 40 days in 28 Illinois cities, and at the end of that I felt that while the bill had little impact on my north suburban district, it had a tremendous impact on Illinois heavy manufacturing, agriculture, and mining. So at the end of August, I made the decision, the first time in my career to change my position on an issue, and announced that as a senator," [he would oppose it] "When you change your position on an issue, in my view you should do it in public with the full YouTube impact and be very clear why."[3]

Voting ratings

Organization Rating Date
American Civil Liberties Union 47%
American Conservative Union
American Public Health Association 12%
Americans for Democratic Action
Americans United for Separation of Church and State 27%
Cato Institute 50%
Christian Coalition 69%
Human Rights Campaign 75%
League of Conservation Voters 80%
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 53%
National Rifle Association D
National Right to Life Committee 100%
National Taxpayers Union 53%
U.S. Chamber of Commerce 89%

Sources: Links to the voting ratings guides of the above organizations together with brief descriptive information on the organizations themselves, may be found at:

2008 Election

Candidate Party Vote total Percentage

Source: Federal Election Results - final official tally

2010 Elections

In the primary, his opponent, Patrick Hughes, said What got me into the race specifically was two things: one, Mark Kirk’s vote for cap and trade. … After he voted for cap and trade, I looked at his record [opposing] the [Iraq] surge and his incredible social liberalism."[3]



  1. About Mark, U.S. House of Representatives
  2. Kirk for Senate
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 John McCormack (1 February 2010), "Mark Kirk: Illinois "Can Repeat the Massachusetts Miracle"", Weekly Standard
  4. Ken Dilanian (10 June 2009), "Clinton adopts low-key style at State Dept.", USA Today
  5. Phil Ponce (5 January 2009), WTTV "Chicago Tonight" - Transcript
  6. Foreign Policy Initiative 2009 Forum, Advancing and Defending Democracy, Foreign Policy Initiative, 21 September 2009, pp. 8-11
  7. Five Minutes With Congressman Mark Kirk (R-IL), United Jewish Communities, December 2003
  8. Natasha Mozgovaya, Barak Ravid and Jonathan Lis (16 October 2009), "'Why should U.S. taxpayers subsidize anti-Israel activities?'", Haaretz