By: Jeniece Thompson
Ronald Kirk is known as a lawyer, a politician, and a member of the Democratic Party. He was born on June 27, 1954, in Austin, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Sociology from Austin College. In 1979, he obtained his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. Throughout his life, he has had a great career in law and politics.
In 1995, Ambassador Kirk made history by becoming the first African American Mayor of Dallas in 1995 and served until 2001. He was known to bring a “diverse coalition” to get what needed to be done resolved. His leadership has been about solving issues for the greater good of the people he serves. Before he was elected mayor, he had the honor of working for Governor Ann Richards as Secretary of State of Texas in 1994.
According to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, “During his tenure as Mayor, Ambassador Kirk expanded Dallas’ reach to the world through a range of trade programs, including numerous trade missions.” In addition, “He also passed seven budgets that focused on the critical needs of the city while maintaining and even lowering taxes. His economic development efforts helped secure more than 45,000 jobs and investment of more than $3.5 billion in Dallas. To protect citizens, he increased the public safety budget by $128 million, and while he was Mayor, Dallas saw its lowest crime rate in 20 years.” It was his determination and putting the needs of the people first as to why he was successful as mayor.
From 2009, to 2013, Ambassador Kirk was a member of President Obama’s Cabinet as the 16th United States Trade Representative (USTR). He was the principal trade advisor, spokesperson, and negotiator on trade issues. According to the White House, The USTR office was created in 1962 to give advice to the President on “trade issues, lead international trade negotiations, and oversee the resolution of disputes, enforcement actions, and other matters before global trade policy organizations such as the World Trade Organization.” Ambassador Kirk has had great success when it comes to negotiating trade agreements with other countries such as Columbia, Panama, Korea, and “Russian’s entry in the World Trade Organization.”
Ambassador Kirk is currently Senior Counsel in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Dallas and Washington D.C. offices. According to Gibson Dunn, he is “Co-Chair of the International Trade Practice Group and a member of the Sports Law, Public Policy, Crisis Management and Private Equity Practice Groups.” For those companies who have global interest, he gives them strategic advice.
Ambassador Kirk has had a successful career and is still currently serving the needs of the people. He is the epitome of what great service looks like. Jack Canfield stated, “When your dreams include service to others-accomplishing something that contributes to others-it also accelerates the accomplishment of that goal. People want to be part of something that contributes and makes a difference.”