Mickey Kantor

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Mickey Kantor
31st United States Secretary of Commerce
In office
April 12, 1996 – January 21, 1997
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Ronald Brown
Succeeded by William M. Daley
11th United States Trade Representative
In office
January 20, 1993 – April 12, 1996
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Carla A. Hills
Succeeded by Charlene Barshefsky
Personal details
Born (1939-08-07) August 7, 1939 (age 76)
Nashville, Tennessee
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Valerie Woods Kantor (died 1978)
Heidi Schulman (since 1982)
Children Leslie, Douglas, and Russell, (died 1988) from first marriage
and Alix (from second marriage)
Residence Los Angeles, CA
Alma mater Vanderbilt University (B.A.)
Georgetown University (J.D.)
Known for NAFTA
Religion Jewish

Michael "Mickey" Kantor (born August 7, 1939) is an American politician and lawyer. After serving as the Clinton-Gore campaign chair in 1992, Kantor was appointed United States Trade Representative, holding that office from 1993 to 1996. He was, in 1996 and 1997, United States Secretary of Commerce.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, of Jewish parents, he holds a B.A. in business and economics from Vanderbilt University, earned in 1961. He then served four years as an officer in the United States Navy, and subsequently earned a J.D. from Georgetown University in 1968. Initially, Kantor worked for the Legal Services Corporation, providing legal assistance to migrant farm workers. It was during this time that he first met Hillary Clinton. From 1976-1993, he practiced law with the Los Angeles law firm of Manatt, Phelps, Phillips & Kantor (now Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP), and was active in Democratic politics and fundraising. He also co-founded the Los Angeles Conservation Corps.

An advocate of free trade, Kantor, as Trade Representative, led U.S. negotiations that created the World Trade Organization (WTO), such as the Uruguay Round, and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). His efforts were broadly criticized by organized labor and environmentalists alike, for refusing to consider fundamental worker and environmental health issues in the core agreements. President Clinton later acknowledged the errors of his administration in relegating these key economic concerns to legally weak side agreements, while favoring large business interests in the NAFTA treaty document. "I think it was a mistake. I think it was part of a global trend that was wrong-headed." Kantor also engaged in organizating the Miami Summit of the Americas and three meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, including the U.S.-hosted First Leaders' Meeting. With the European Commission of the newly formed European Union, he expanded the trans-Atlantic market.

Kantor practices law in the Los Angeles office of Mayer Brown,[1] an international law firm based in Chicago. He is also the Co-Chairman of the Pacific Council on International Policy.[2]

Kantor has been married to broadcast journalist Heidi Schulman since 1982, following the death of his first wife, Valerie Woods Kantor in a 1978 plane crash in San Diego.[3][4] He has children Leslie, Douglas (from the first marriage), and Alix (from the second marriage); and grandchildren Ryan, Jackson, and Zack. Another son by Valerie, Russell, died in a single-car crash in October, 1988, while a senior in high school.[4]


  1. ^ http://www.mayerbrown.com/people/Michael-Kantor/
  2. ^ "Board of Directors". Pacific Council on International Policy. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "In Memoriam." From The Classes. Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY. March, 1979. p. 30.
  4. ^ a b "Son of Activist Kantor, 3 Others Killed in Crash." Los Angeles Times. October 30, 1988. Metro, p. 6.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ronald H. Brown
U.S. Secretary of Commerce
Served under: Bill Clinton

April 12, 1996 – January 21, 1997
Succeeded by
William M. Daley
Government offices
Preceded by
Carla A. Hills
United States Trade Representative
Succeeded by
Charlene Barshefsky