Ron Kirk

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Ron Kirk (born June 27, 1954) was the first African American mayor of Dallas, Texas who also ran for the United States Senate in 2002.

Born in Austin, Texas, Ron Kirk attended Austin College and the University of Texas School of Law. Upon his graduation in 1979, he practiced law until 1981 when he left to work in the office of then-Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen. Kirk continued to work with him upon Bentsen's appointment as Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration.

In 1994, Kirk worked for then-Texas governor Ann Richards as Texas' Secretary of State. The following year, Kirk was urged by members of Dallas' business community to run for mayor of Dallas. With support of Dallas' business community and influential members of the city's African American community, Kirk was successful in his bid, winning 62 percent of the vote.

During his tenure as mayor, Kirk earned the reputation of being a coalition-builder, managing to keep the always-tumultuous Dallas City Council and Dallas School Board together. Under his leadership, he proposed the bold "Dallas Plan," a grand vision for the next 25 years, which included the controversial Trinity River Project, a $246 million plan that called for constructing a network of parks and highways in the flood plain of the Trinity River. Under his leadership he also pushed the construction of the American Airlines Center, whose opening he oversaw in 2002.

In 1999, Kirk was re-elected as mayor of Dallas in a landslide with 74 percent of the vote.

In 2001, Kirk resigned as mayor of Dallas in order to run for the Senate seat vacated by retiring Republican Phil Gramm. Facing then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, Kirk lost by 15%.

Following his failed bid for Senate, Kirk returned to the law firm Gardere Wynne Sewell in Dallas. He is now a partner with the Houston based law firm Vinson Elkins.

Preceded by :
Steve Bartlett
Mayors of Dallas Succeeded by:
Laura Miller
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