ENG: Jon Llewellyn Kyl (born April 25, 1942) is a former United States Senator from Arizona, where he served as Senate Minority Whip, the second-highest position in the Republican Senate leadership.
The son of U.S. Representative John Henry Kyl, he was born and raised in Nebraska and lived for some time in Iowa. He received his bachelor's degree and law degree from the University of Arizona. He worked in Phoenix, Arizona as a lawyer and lobbyist before winning election to the United States House of Representatives, where he served from 1987 to 1995. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994 and continued to be re-elected by large margins until his retirement.
In 2010, he was recognized by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world for his persuasive role in the Senate. Kyl was ranked by National Journal in 2007 as the fourth-most conservative U.S. Senator. He has been a fixture of Republican policy leadership posts, chairing the Republican Policy Committee (2003–2007) and the Republican Conference (2007). In December 2007 he became Senate Minority Whip.
In February 2011, Kyl announced that he would not seek re-election to the Senate in 2012 and would retire at the end of his third term, which concluded on January 3, 2013. He expressly ruled out running for further office except, if offered, the Vice Presidency.
Early life, education and career
Kyl was born in Oakland, Nebraska, the son of Arlene Pearl (née Griffith) and John Henry Kyl, a teacher at Nebraska State Teachers College.
His father served as a Congressman from Iowa after moving his family to Bloomfield, Iowa. After graduating from high school in 1960, Kyl attended the University of Arizona where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1964, graduating with honors. Kyl is a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He then earned a law degree in 1966 at the University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law, and served as editor-in-chief of the Arizona Law Review. Before entering politics, he was a lawyer and lobbyist with Jennings, Strouss & Salmon in Phoenix, Arizona.
Kyl is married to Caryll Collins, with whom he has had two children. They also have seven grandchildren.
U.S House of Representatives
Kyl served in the House of Representatives from 1987 to 1995. He was first elected in 1986 against Democrat Philip R. Davis, 64.5% to 35.5%. He was reelected in 1988 against Gary Sprunk of the Libertarian party, 87% to 13%; in 1990 against Democrat Mark Ivey, Jr., 61% to 39%; and in 1992 against Democrat Walter R.
Mybeck, II, 59.2% to 26.7%.
U.S. Senate - Leadership
Kyl has been elected by his fellow Senate Republicans to a succession of leadership posts: Policy Committee chairman (2003–2007), Conference chairman (2007), and most recently (in December 2007), Senate Minority Whip. Kyl's ascension to Minority Whip makes him the first Arizonan to hold such an influential Senate leadership post since Democrat Ernest W. McFarland served as Senate Majority Leader from 1951 to 1953. Kyl is the only Arizona Republican to hold such a powerful leadership position.
Controversies - Planned Parenthood
On April 8, 2011, Kyl spoke on the Senate floor and claimed that performing abortions is "well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does." Planned Parenthood responded that 90 percent of its services are to provide contraception, STD and cancer testing and treatment, and only 3 percent are abortion-related.
A spokesperson for Kyl later claimed the senator’s remark "was not intended to be a factual statement but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, an organization that receives millions in taxpayer dollars, does subsidize abortions." Politifact noted that Planned Parenthood's numbers (from their most recent Annual Report, year ending June 30, 2009) are the result of self-reporting and that there is no national audit on such claims, but stated their belief that Kyl "vastly overstated" the number. A political science professor writing at National Review Online suggested that perhaps Kyl's comments were based on the pregnancy-related services provided to pregnant women, citing Planned Parenthood's 2009 annual report figures and claiming that 98% of those services were for abortion. The phrase "not intended to be a factual statement" was mocked by political comedians such as Stephen Colbert, who joked, "You can’t call him out for being wrong when he never intended to be right."
Kyl was first elected to the Senate in 1994, defeating Samuel G. Coppersmith (D), then a member of the House of Representatives, 54% to 40%. Libertarian Party candidate Scott Grainger got 6% of the votes.
Kyl was reelected in 2000 without major-party opposition, with 79.3% of the vote. Independent William Toel got 7.8%; Green Party candidate Vance Hansen also got 7.8%; and Barry Hess of the Libertarian Party got 5.1%.
On November 7, 2006, Kyl defeated real estate developer and former Arizona Democratic Party chairman Jim Pederson to win his third term in the Senate. Kyl won with 53.3% of the vote; Pederson received 43.5%; and Libertarian Party candidate Richard Mack received 3.2%. The race was one of the most expensive in Arizona history, with Kyl raising more than $15 million and Pederson raising just shy of that amount.
A major issue in the campaign was illegal immigration. While in the Senate, Kyl cosponsored legislation that would give illegal immigrants up to five years to leave the country. Once there, they could apply for permanent residence or be guest workers. Since fellow Arizona Senator John McCain opposed this legislation, Pederson tried to use the issue as a way of allying with McCain and dividing the Republicans in Arizona. Controversy also arose when each candidate accused the other of supporting the amnesty provisions in a 1986 immigration bill, although both candidates deny ever supporting those provisions.
Kyl appeared in the U.S. national news near the end of the campaign as an example of a case where some bloggers were attempting to influence search engine results for searches on Kyl's name, using Google bombs.
January 15, 2013