Mark Steven Kirk (born September 15, 1959) has been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 2001, representing the 10th District of Illinois (map). Kirk was elected to Congress in 2000 after defeating former State Representative Lauren Beth Gash 51Ô9åP> He was born in Champaign, Illinois, graduated from New Trier High School and attended Blackburn College, then transferred to the Universidad Nacional AutÃ³noma de MÃ©xico, and finally transferred to Cornell University, received a Masters Degree from the London School of Economics, and started law school at William & Mary, transferring to receive his Juris Doctor degree from the Jesuit-run Georgetown University.
He serves as an officer in the United States Navy Reserve and was named Intelligence Officer of the Year in 1999 for his service in Kosovo. Kirk was a lawyer, a staff member for Representative John Edward Porter, a special assistant at the Department of State, and a staff member for the House of International Relations Committee before entering the House.
He describes his constituency as fiscally conservative and socially moderate. Kirk and his wife, Kimberly, live in Highland Park, IL and Alexandria, VA.
On November 5, 2005, while speaking at Northwestern University, Kirk sparked a minor controversy by stating that he is "OK with discrimination against young Arab males from terrorist-producing states." Despite calls from American Muslim groups and other politicians for an apology and retraction, Kirk stood by his statement. He acknowledged the statement was "politically uncomfortable" and although Kirk claimed that he would discuss his opinions with any of his constituents, many constituents have reported they only received a form letter in response to requests to discuss the statement.
Kirk is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership, The Republican Majority for Choice, and Republicans for Environmental Protection.
He is a cosponsor of legislation to provide the District Of Columbia voting representation.
Kirk faces Democrat Daniel Seals in the 2006 election.