Mayor Ron Kirk is now Ambassador Ron Kirk, the 16th U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), working for the 44th President. The post of USTR was created in its preliminary form by President John F. Kennedy, and exists to coordinate and lead the trade activities of the Departments of State, Commerce, Agriculture, Treasury, and Labor.
Kirk was confirmed on a 92-5 vote, with Sens. Robert Byrd (D-WV), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Kit Bond (R-MO), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) opposing.
Just miliseconds after Kirk was confirmed, the Citizens Trade Campaign and 350 other civil society organizations sent Kirk a note of congratulations, and called for Kirk to help usher in a "New Day on Trade," moving past the NAFTA-WTO model (and its extensions to Panama and other countries) and embracing fair trade.
He has long been active in trade issues, and is a Fast Track critic. According to the Dallas Morning News (3/8/02), Kirk blasted his Democratic primary opponent Ken Bentsen in the 2002 U.S. Senate race for casting “the decisive vote to give this trade bill a one-vote victory in the House of Representatives without any real guarantee of help for workers who lose their jobs because of trade.”