Senator Kirk's Biography
Mark Steven Kirk was elected to the United States Senate on November 2, 2010, winning a special election to serve the final weeks of President Barack Obama's Senate term in addition to winning a regular six-year term starting January 3, 2011.
Born in Champaign, Illinois, Mark graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka and attended the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He then enrolled at Cornell University where he graduated cum laude with a B.A. in History. After completion of his undergraduate studies, Mark obtained a Master's Degree from the London School of Economics and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University.
In 1989, Mark was commissioned as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Navy Reserve. Over his career, Mark served in Operation Northern Watch and was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his service in Operation Allied Force. From December 2008 to January 2009, Mark became the first sitting House member to deploy to an imminent danger area since 1942 when he served as special advisor for counternarcotics in Kandahar, Afghanistan. In 2013, Mark retired from the Navy with the rank of Commander.
In January 2012, Mark suffered an ischemic stroke and underwent surgeries at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to relieve swelling in his brain. After nearly a year of intensive recovery and rehabilitation, Mark triumphantly returned to work by climbing the 45 steps of the U.S. Capitol on January 3, 2013. Friends and colleagues from both sides of the aisle cheered as Mark walked up the Capitol steps. Mark reflected that his return to the Senate was one of the greatest moments of his life.
Mark worked on the staff of his predecessor in the House, Congressman John Porter, a former Representative of Illinois' 10th District, and also spent two years at the State Department as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State. Mark then went into private law practice and eventually became counsel to the House International Relations Committee, a post he held until 1999.
Mark was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2000 and went on to serve five terms representing the people of Illinois' 10th Congressional District in Congress. On November 29, 2010, Mark was sworn in as the thirtieth class III United States Senator from the state of Illinois.
He serves on the Committees on Appropriations, Banking, Housing and Urban Development and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions as well as the Special Committee on Aging.
Mark currently resides in Highland Park, Illinois.