Jon Kyl

O'Connor Distinguished Scholar of Law and Public Service
Professor of Practice
Jon Kyl currently serves as Senior Advisor at Covington and Burling, LLP and is a Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is also a Distinguished Fellow in Public Service in Arizona State University’s College of Public Programs and Distinguished Scholar in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Previously, Kyl served eighteen years in the U.S. Senate after serving for eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was elected unanimously by his colleagues in 2008 to serve as Republican Whip, the second-highest position in the Senate Republican leadership, a position he held until his retirement in 2013.

As a member of the Judiciary Committee, he helped write reforms to U.S. patent law, the landmark Crime Victims’ Rights Act, as well as important provisions of the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and other anti-terrorism laws.

As a member of the Finance Committee, he was a chief advocate of pro-growth tax policies, including low tax rates on income, capital gains, dividends and estates. He was a member of the Joint Select Committee for deficit reduction, the so called “Super Committee.”

The Wall Street Journal wrote in February 2011 that Senator Kyl “has made his mark the old fashioned way – by knowing what he is talking about.” The New York Times, in a February 2012 piece, called Kyl “the emissary of the Republican leadership, a gatekeeper of conservatism, and a bridge between his party’s most ardent conservatives and more pragmatic centrists.” Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes called Kyl “The Indispensable Man,” noting that “He knows more about more issues than anyone else in Congress – ranging from missile defense to the estate tax.”

TIME magazine recognized Senator Kyl as one of the “World’s 100 Most Influential People” in 2010, and as one of the 10 best senators in 2006. Capitol Hill’s newspaper, The Hill, identified him as one of the “25 hardest working lawmakers.”

Before his public service, Kyl practiced law at Jennings, Strouss & Salmon in Phoenix. In 1985, he served as chairman of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

Born in Oakland, Nebraska, Kyl received both his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Arizona. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was editor-in-chief of the Arizona Law Review. He and his wife Caryll have two children, Kristine Kyl Gavin and John Kyl, and seven grandchildren.