Kirk on Leppert and Dallas's Next Mayor

Last week, the Texas Tribune sat down in Austin to chat up U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Today, the Trib posted some of that interview, during which Kirk reveals that when he stepped down as Dallas Mayor, he cried. So did Schutze. Like a baby.

You can watch the video. Or read the transcript. Your choice. Well, don't cry about it.

TT: What do you think of Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert's decision to resign to run for U.S. Senate? Any advice?

Kirk: I know Tom Leppert. He's a good man. I think he's been a good mayor for Dallas. I will only say this: One of the last times I cried as an adult was the night before I resigned as mayor, because I loved being mayor, and I loved the privilege of being the face and voice of a dynamic city and being responsible for the hopes and dreams of a million people, and trying to address their issues of safety, how to build a better economic future. And when I resigned, I said my prayer was that Dallas would have a better mayor than me, because they'd never have one that loved it any more. I've got to assume that's what he's going through. Beyond that, that's a conversation for you to have with Tom Leppert. What I would say is I hope whoever is our next United States senator from Texas understands the critical importance of America having a thoughtful, progressive trade policy to our economic future. No state benefits more from exporting than Texas.

TT: What is Dallas looking for in its next mayor?

Kirk: What Dallas wants from a mayor is vision, integrity, leadership and character. And I think it's okay to have a mayor who wants and loves the job. I am always suspicious of people who credential themselves for public office by virtue of the fact they're not a politician. And I think part of our challenge in this country is we elect people over and over again who have told us that they don't know anything about politics. And then we put them all in office and can't understand why nothing works. This is a big job. Dallas is a big city. You've got 1.2 million people, a multibillion-dollar budget. You need someone that understands the politics of governing. And I don't believe you can lead an institution you don't love and respect. And more than any other individual, the mayor's job is to go out and sell Dallas every day.

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