Illinois Congressman Mark Kirk has been exposed again in the latest round of résumé padding this mid-term election season.
A New York Times exposé published Wednesday revealed that Republican Congressman Kirk — who is in a close Senate race with Democrat Alexi Giannoulias to fill Barack Obama old seat — exaggerated his experience as a teacher. While Kirk has often identified himself as a former teacher, the New York Times investigation showed Kirk to be embellishing.
As a senior at Cornell University, Congressman Kirk worked part-time at a nursery school in Ithaca, New York, as part of a work-study program. Furthermore, he only worked at the nursery school from April to June 1981.
The only full-time teaching experience the congressman can claim is his single year at Milestone College, a private school in London’s Kensington neighborhood. Kirk taught European history and English at the school from September 1982 to June 1983, Kirk campaign spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski told The New York Times.
In his speech on school safety delivered from the House floor in September 2006, Congressman Kirk said that, as a former teacher, he could “remember those who bore scrutiny as people who might bring a gun to class.” Kukowski says that Kirk was referring to the nursery school kids, and not the students in London.
Nursery school kids bringing guns to school? Students at a private college preparatory school in London carrying firearms in the classroom? It’s obvious that the congressman was telling a fib when he told the House in 2006 that he could relate to the issue of school safety.
The discovery of Kirk’s consistent embellishments about his teaching experience come just a week after the congressman was forced to apologize for lying about his military record, wherein he had previously told of winning an individual award and deploying to Afghanistan. Neither turned out to be true — the award had been given to his entire unit and Kirk was sent to the Middle East on a two-week training assignment required annually of all reservists.
As the Chicago Tribune reported last Sunday:
Deployment can mean more than one thing in the military, but it is often used to describe service members going off to war for an extended time.
Navy Cmdr. Danny Hernandez said there is a difference between annual training and being deployed, which can sometimes last more than a year.
‘I would think that would be (considered) two weeks of annual training,’ Hernandez, a Navy spokesman, said of Kirk’s stints. ‘A deployment is a deployment and annual training is annual training.’
Congressman Kirk was also forced to retract his accounts of being fired at while flying over Iraq, which he now admits never took place. In October 2003, while speaking from the House floor again, Kirk said, “the last time I was in Iraq I was in uniform, flying at 20,000 feet and the Iraqi Air Defense network was shooting at us.”
Despite such setbacks — which Kirk calls “misremembering” — Kirk and Giannoulias remain in a dead heat for the United States Senate seat in Illinois.