In 2006, Kirk announced his candidacy for State Senate in District 14, which now covers most of Travis County and all of Bastrop County.
Since taking office in 2007, Kirk has approached the Texas Legislature with many of the same goals and strategies he pursued throughout his career in public service – building new coalitions, working with all sides, and preparing for Texas’ future.
After three legislative sessions, Kirk has been widely recognized for his idealism as well as his effectiveness. Texas Monthly magazine recognized him as one of Texas’ 10 Best Legislators in 2009. It also named him Legislative Rookie of the Year in 2007 and gave him an Honorable Mention in its coverage of 2011′s best legislators.
In the 2011 regular legislative session and the special session that followed it, Kirk passed a number of bills designed to:
- Make the state more open and honest about its budget,
- Improve the state’s water picture and build on electronic recycling programs, and
- Protect Texas children by increasing awareness about things like sexting and alcohol poisoning.
Kirk has also worked throughout his legislative service to make health care available to more Texans – particularly children. In 2012, he led the charge to build a medical school at UT and revolutionize health care in Travis County. Those efforts ultimately resulted in Proposition 1, which passed with almost 55 percent of the vote.
As Vice Chair of the Senate Transportation, Kirk has pushed toreduce traffic, increase funding for improvements, and ensure transparency and accountability for transportation agencies. He also serves on the Senate committees on Business and Commerce, Economic Development, Higher Education, and Nominations, as well as the Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Education Governance, Excellence & Transparency. And he currently chairs the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus.
He also has remained very involved in issues across Central Texas. As former chair of the region’s primary transportation planning group, he injected new transparency and accountability into long-discussed highway improvements, assembled a broad coalition that overwhelmingly approved the projects, and helped lead a process to create a stronger transit system in Austin and the surrounding region. And he helped launch and serves on the board of a community bank in Bastrop County.
Most importantly, and as he has throughout his career, he is working to ensure that Texas offers as much opportunity to our children as it has to Kirk.