1. Mark Steven Kirk was born in Champaign, Ill., on Sept. 15, 1959. He graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka.
2. He attended Blackburn College in Illinois and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico before graduating with a B.A. in history from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1981.
3. He earned a master's degree from the London School of Economics in 1982. While in London, he worked as a teacher at the Milestone School, was an assistant to a member of the British House of Commons, and participated in Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's re-election campaign in 1983.
4. He began his political career in the United States in 1984 working for Illinois GOP Rep. John Porter.
5. In 1992, Kirk received a J.D. from Georgetown University.
6. After working for the Baker & Mackenzie law firm for two years, he served as a counsel for the House Committee on International Relations from 1995 to 1999. He was elected in 2000 to represent the 10th Congressional District of Illinois.
7. Kirk has served in the Naval Reserve as an intelligence officer since 1990 and now holds the rank of commander. In December, he went to Afghanistan on active duty, becoming the first member of Congress to serve in an "imminent danger zone" since 1942.
8. In June, he divorced his wife of eight years, Kimberly Vertolli.
9. He says his favorite comedian is Sam Kinison and his favorite movie star is Jennifer Aniston.
10. He has a Shih Tzu puppy named Sophie.
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