Mark Kennedy (politician)

Mark Kennedy
12th President of the University of North Dakota
Assumed office
July 1, 2016
Preceded by Ed Schafer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 6th district
In office
January 3, 2003  January 3, 2007
Preceded by Bill Luther
Succeeded by Michele Bachmann
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 2001  January 3, 2003
Preceded by David Minge
Succeeded by John Kline
Personal details
Born (1957-04-11) April 11, 1957
Benson, Minnesota, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Debbie Kennedy
Residence Watertown, Minnesota, U.S.
Alma mater

St. John's University

University of Michigan

Mark Raymond Kennedy (born April 11, 1957 in Benson, Minnesota), is an American businessman, Republican Party politician, and president of the University of North Dakota. Kennedy previously led the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.[1] Before that, he served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2007. Kennedy did not seek re-election in 2006, instead running for the U.S. Senate. He lost the general election to Democratic–Farmer–Labor nominee Amy Klobuchar.

Early life and business career

Kennedy graduated from Pequot Lakes High School in 1975, and St. John's University in 1979. He began his career as a Certified Public Accountant and went on to receive his M.B.A. from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business in 1983.

Kennedy's business career prior to the U.S. Congress included working for The Pillsbury Company, assisting with their acquisition of Häagen-Dazs and arranging for financing to support their international expansion. As a senior executive at Federated Department Stores, he helped the company position itself for growth to become, as Macy's, the world's leading department store. He was profiled in May 1992's Institutional Investor Magazine, which featured him on its cover as one of “America's top CFOs”. At ShopKo Stores, he was responsible for merchandising, marketing and store management.

Political career

U.S. House of Representatives

In 2000, Kennedy won the Republican nomination for the 2nd district and faced four-term Democrat David Minge. He had never run for political office before. In the closest congressional race of that cycle, Kennedy defeated Minge by 155 votes.

In 2002, although Minnesota didn't gain or lose any districts, Kennedy's 2nd district—a monstrous 28-county district stretching from the southwestern corner of the state to the fringes of the Twin Cities—was dismantled. Its territory was split up among four neighboring districts. Kennedy's home outside Watertown was located just inside the reconfigured 6th district, in the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities.

Kennedy initially expected to face the 6th's three-term incumbent Democrat, Bill Luther. However, the new 6th was somewhat more Republican than its predecessor, and Luther opted to move to the reconfigured 2nd District where he lost to John Kline. Instead, Kennedy faced Janet Robert, a lawyer and longtime Democratic activist. In one of the most expensive congressional races in Minnesota history, Kennedy was reelected with 57% of the vote. In 2004, Kennedy faced child safety advocate Patty Wetterling. Kennedy received 54% percent of the popular vote to Wetterling's 46%.

2006 U.S. Senate election

See also: United States Senate election in Minnesota, 2006

Kennedy ran against DFL candidate and Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by DFL Senator Mark Dayton. Also in the race were Independence Party candidate Robert Fitzgerald, Green Party candidate Michael Cavlan, and Constitution Party candidate Ben Powers.

Klobuchar won the election, receiving 58% of the vote to Kennedy's 38%.

Political views

Kennedy's support of the War in Iraq during the 2006 U.S. Senate race was described as "bold and smart" on Fox News' Brit Hume Show (Fox News, Brit Hume Show, 12-27-06) and CNN’s Anderson Cooper said that "Kennedy doesn't ignore the elephant in the room, to the contrary, he looks it straight in the eye" (CNN, Anderson Cooper 360°, 10-25-06).

A proponent of free trade, Kennedy voted in favor of in giving the President Fast track Authority and of the Central America Free Trade Agreement.[2]

In Congress, Kennedy supported the Bush tax cuts, he voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan,[3] and the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.[4] Kennedy's reputation as a reformer was further enhanced by his sponsorship of the line item veto,[5] a lifetime ban on all members of Congress becoming lobbyists,[6] full deductibility of medical expenses,[7] no parole for sex offenders,[8] and Medicare Plan Enrollment Fraud Protection.[9]

Kennedy's record of included partnering with twenty Democrats to lead legislation and having more than half the Democrats in the House co-sponsor bills he introduced. Such bills included authoring the Teacher's for Tomorrow’s Careers Act with New Jersey Democrat Rush Holt,[10] the Fair Care for the Uninsured Act with Illinois Democrat Dan Lipinski,[11][12] Rural Access to Emergency Services Act with North Dakota Democrat Earl Pomeroy,[13] the Clean Alternatives for Energy Independence Act with Democrat Colorado Mark Udall,[14] the Emergency Wetlands Loan Act with California Democrat Mike Thompson,[15] the Child Support Enforcement Act with California Democrat Juanita Millender-McDonald,[16] SLAM Act with Oregon Democrat Darlene Hooley to increase penalties on those who traffic and sell meth to our young people.[17]

Kennedy refers to himself as "100% Pro-Life." He voted in favor of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and voted to sustain President Bush's veto on the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005.[2]

Post-congressional life

Community activities

In 2007, Kennedy was appointed to the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiation (ACTPN).[18] ACTPN, a part of the Office of the United States Trade Representative, considers trade policy issues in the context of overall national interest.

In 2008, Kennedy, along with former congressmen Tim Penny and Bill Frenzel, founded the Economic Club of Minnesota (ECOM),[19] a nonpartisan platform for national and international leaders in business, government, and public policy to present their ideas on how Minnesota can better compete in an increasingly globalized economy.

In 2008, he established the Frontiers of Freedom Lecture Series at the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy at his alma mater, St. John’s University.

Kennedy became a member of the Economic Club of Washington in 2013 and Chatham House in 2014.

In 2015, Kennedy was elected to the Council on Foreign Relations.


From 2007–10 Kennedy served as the Global Retail Business Development Lead for Accenture, a global management consulting, technology, and outsourcing services firm. In 2010, he formed Chartwell Strategic Advisors LLC. Kennedy's activities through Chartwell include speaking on applying 360° Vision to bridge differences between business and society; the political left and right; the United States and the world.

From 2011–13 Kennedy served as an Executive in Residence at Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School in Baltimore, Maryland, teaching MBA courses on Corporate Statesmanship, Global Economic Systems, as well as global immersion courses in Brazil and Turkey.

In January 2012, Kennedy accepted the position of Director and Professor at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.[20] During his tenure, the school launched two new master's programs—one in Spanish with a Latin American focus and one focused on advocacy in the global environment.[21]

Since 2012, Kennedy has also been an adjunct faculty member at Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey. Kennedy introduced the concept of "Shapeholders" to the field of business strategy—the political, regulatory, media, and activist actors that shape a firm's opportunities and risks. Kennedy teaches how to effectively engage shapeholders both at home and abroad to profitably advance business strategies while benefiting society.

University of North Dakota Presidency

On March 15, 2016, the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education announced that Kennedy had been selected as the twelfth President of the University of North Dakota.[22] Kennedy, who had filed his application on January 2, 2016, was in February of that year the third of six finalists to visit the University.[23] Kennedy succeeded president Robert Kelley, who retired in January 2016, and Ed Schafer, who served as interim President until Kennedy assumed office on July 1.[24] He was inaugurated on October 10, 2016.[25]

Electoral history

Kennedy (left) with President George W. Bush (right) and Congressman Gil Gutknecht looking on (center).


  1. "Message from the Director". Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  2. 1 2 "Mark Kennedy on the Issues". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  5. "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005 – 2006) – H.J.RES.71 – Cosponsors – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  6. "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005 – 2006) – H.R.4658 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  7. "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005-06) – H.R.4625 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". 2005-12-17. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  8. "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005 – 2006) – H.R.4621 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  9. "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005-06) – H.R.4406 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  10. "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005-06) – H.R.4622 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". 2005-12-17. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  11. "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005-06) – H.R.765 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". 2005-03-22. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  12. "Bill Summary & Status – 108th Congress (2003-04) – H.R.583 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  13. "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005 – 2006) – H.R.2525 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  14. "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005-06) – H.R.4623 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". 2005-12-17. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  15. "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005-06) – H.R.4315 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  16. "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005-06) – H.R.4233 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". 2005-11-04. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  17. "Bill Summary & Status – 109th Congress (2005 – 2006) – H.R.3513 – THOMAS (Library of Congress)". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  18. Archived January 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. "Economic Club of Minnesota". Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  20. "Kennedy to lead George Washington grad school program". Politics in Minnesota.
  21. "Graduate School of Political Management Master's Programs".
  22. Dakota, - The University of North. "State Board of Higher Education appoints Mark Kennedy UND president | 03 | 2016 | News | UND: University of North Dakota". Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  23. Dakota, - The University of North. "Campus Visits | President Search | UND: University of North Dakota". Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  24. Dakota, - The University of North. "Biography | President | UND: University of North Dakota". Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  25. "University of North Dakota sets inauguration for president". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
David Minge
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
John Kline
Preceded by
Bill Luther
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Michele Bachmann
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