U.S. Senator Mark Kirk: The Meaning of Democracy and Civic Engagement

November 7, 2011

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U.S. Senator Mark Kirk

Mark Kirk has been one of Illinois’ two U.S. senators since November 2010, when he won a special election to serve out the final weeks of Obama’s Senate term. He also won a regular six-year term that started in January.

Before his election to the Senate, Kirk served five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives as a congressman for Illinois’ 10th Congressional District, which largely encompasses Chicago’s northern suburbs. Prior to his first election to the House in 2000, he worked on the staff of his predecessor, Congressman John Porter, and also served as counsel to the House International Relations Committee.

Commissioned in 1989 as an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve, Kirk currently holds the rank of commander, and has served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, and Bosnia. From December 2008 to January 2009, Kirk became the first House member since 1942 to deploy to an imminent danger area, when he served as a special advisor for counternarcotics in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Senator Kirk currently 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.

Kirk’s lecture is part of the Democracy Forum at Elmhurst College, a yearlong series of lectures that illuminate the problems and promise of democracy and civic engagement.

Elmhurst College is a leading liberal arts college located eight miles west of Chicago. The College’s mission is to prepare its students for meaningful and ethical work in a multicultural, global society. Approximately 3,400 full- and part-time students are enrolled in its 22 undergraduate academic departments and nine graduate degree programs. Elmhurst College is affiliated with the United Church of Christ.

Recorded Sunday, November 6, 2011 at Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, Elmhurst College.