BIOGRAPHIES OF THE COMMISSIONERS
Co-Chairman Henry Cisneros
Henry Cisneros is Executive Chairman of the CityView companies, which funds homebuilders across the nation to create homes priced within the range of average families. CityView is a partner in building more than 40 communities in 12 states, incorporating more than 7,000 homes with a value of over $2 billion.
Mr. Cisneros’ community-building career began in urban public service. After serving three terms as a City Councilmember, in 1981, Mr. Cisneros became the first Hispanic-American mayor of a major U.S. city, San Antonio, Texas. During his four terms as Mayor, he helped rebuild the city’s economic base and spurred the creation of jobs through massive infrastructure and downtown improvements, marking San Antonio as one of the nation’s most progressive cities. In 1986 was selected as the “Outstanding Mayor” in the nation by City and State Magazine. A scholarly study of America’s Mayors, The American Mayor, ranked Mr. Cisneros as one of the fifteen best mayors in the nation in a period that spanned the 20th Century. After completing four terms as Mayor, Mr. Cisneros formed Cisneros Asset Management Company, a fixed income management firm operating nationally and ranked at the time as the second fastest growing money manager in the nation.
In 1992, President Clinton appointed Mr. Cisneros to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. As a member of President Clinton’s Cabinet, Secretary Cisneros was assigned America’s housing and community development portfolio. He is credited with initiating the revitalization of many of the nation’s public housing developments, with formulating policies which contributed to achieving the nation’s highest ever homeownership rate, and with upgrading the nation’s strategies to reduce homelessness. In his role as the President’s chief representative to the nation’s cities, Mr. Cisneros personally worked in more than 200 U.S. cities in every one of the 50 states. After leaving HUD in 1997, Mr. Cisneros became president and chief operating officer of Univision Communicationsn non-profit and civic leadership and remains active in San Antonio’s leadership.
Mr. Cisneros has also has been author, editor or collaborator in several books including: Interwoven Destinies: Cities and the Nation. His book project with former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp, Opportunity and Progress: A Bipartisan Platform for National Housing Policy, was presented the Common Purpose Award for demonstrating the potential of bipartisan cooperation and Casa y Comunidad: Latino Home and Neighborhood Design and was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Silver Medal in the category of best business book of 2006. His most recent collaboration with former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp, Our Homes, Our Communities, is a guide for local leaders in designing comprehensive housing policies.
Mr. Cisneros holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Texas A&M University. He earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University, studied urban economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, holds a Doctorate in Public Administration from George Washington University, and has been awarded more than 20 honorary doctorates from leading universities. He served as an infantry officer in the United States Army. He is married to Mary Alice P. Cisneros, who in 2001 was elected to San Antonio’s City Council, and is the father of three children – Teresa, Mercedes, and John Paul – and has three grandchildren.
Co-Chairman Jack Kemp
Mr. Kemp is Founder and Chairman of Kemp Partners, a strategic consulting firm which seeks to provide clients with strategic counsel, relationship development, and marketing advice, helping them to accomplish business and policy objectives.
Mr. Kemp was named co-chair of the Lincoln Bicentennial Cabinet, a group formed by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission to support the Commission’s public-private efforts, in May 2007 along with former Congressman William H. Gray. The Commission was established by Congress to plan educational, public, and legacy events to mark the 16th president’s 200th birthday in 2009.
In March 2005 Mr. Kemp was asked to co-chair the Council on Foreign Relations’ Russia Task Force with Senator John Edwards. He has also served on Speaker Hastert’s Saving America’s Cities Working Group since early 2005.
From January 1993 until July 2004 he was co-director of Empower America, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy and advocacy organization he co-founded with William Bennett and Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick.
In September 2001, Mr. Kemp helped form a new non-partisan, non-profit think tank, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies to counter the terrorist propaganda efforts, and he has been writing a weekly syndicated column for the Copley News Service nationwide since February of 2000.
Mr. Kemp received the Republican Party’s nomination for Vice President in August of 1996 and since then has campaigned nationally for reform of taxation, Social Security and education.
In 1995, Jack Kemp served as chairman of the National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform, which promoted major reform and simplification on our tax code in order to unleash the American entrepreneurial spirit, increase economic growth and expand access to capital for all people.
Prior to founding Empower America, Mr. Kemp served for four years as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He was the author of the Enterprise Zones legislation to encourage entrepreneurship and job creation in urban America and continues to advocate the expansion of home ownership among the poor through resident management and ownership of public and subsidized housing.
Before his appointment to the Cabinet, Mr. Kemp represented the Buffalo area and western New York for 18 years in the United States House of Representatives from 1971-1989. He served for seven years in the Republican Leadership as Chairman of the House Republican Conference.
Before his election to Congress in 1970, Mr. Kemp played 13 years as a professional football quarterback. He was captain of the San Diego Chargers from 1960-1962. He was also the captain of the Buffalo Bills, the team he quarterbacked to the American Football League Championship in 1964 and 1965, when he was named the league’s most valuable player. He co-founded the American Football League Players Association and was five times elected president of that Association. In 2006 Mr. Kemp was named as one of the NCAA’s “100 Most Influential Student-Athletes”. He was also recognized by Sporting News as one of the Top 50 Quarterbacks of All Time in 2005.
Mr. Kemp was born and raised in Los Angeles and educated in the LA public schools. He is married to the former Joanne Main of Fillmore, CA. Both are graduates of Occidental College. They have four children (Jeffrey, Jennifer, Judith and Jimmy) and seventeen grandchildren. The Kemps reside in Bethesda, Maryland and have a home in Vail, Colorado. They are also founding members and Honorary Board members of the Yellowstone Private Ski & Golf Club in Big Sky, Montana.
Commissioner Pat Combs, Immediate Past President, National Association of Realtors
Pat V. Combs, a REALTOR© from Grand Rapids, Mich., is the 2008 Immediate Past President of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS© . NAR, The Voice for Real Estate© , is America’s largest professional association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
Pat served as NAR President in 2007 and NAR President-Elect in 2006. In 2005, she was NAR First Vice President. She served as NAR Regional Vice President in 1997 of Region VI, composed of Michigan and Ohio.
A REALTOR© since 1971, Pat is the Vice President of Coldwell Banker-AJS-Schmidt, the second largest real estate company in Michigan. She holds the professional designations of Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR©); Certified Residential Specialist (CRS© ); Graduate, REALTOR© Institute (GRI); and Performance Management Network (PMN).
Pat is a member of the NAR Leadership Team. In 2003, she served as National Fundraising Chair for the REALTORS© Political Action Committee and is an RPAC “Golden R.” She has been chair of three major NAR committees: Education, Equal Opportunity, and Public Policy. Pat also served as committee liaison for three years.
At the state level, Pat was President of the Michigan Association of REALTORS© in 1995, and was chosen by her peers as Michigan “REALTOR© of the Year” in 2002. She was Michigan President of the Women’s Council of REALTORS© in 1986. Active in her community, she served as chairman of the Michigan Real Estate Commission in 2002.
In 1990, Pat served as President of the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS© .
Pat V. Combs, and her husband, Guy Combs, have a combined family of six children and four grandchildren.
Commissioner Okianer Christian Dark, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, Howard University School of Law
Associate Dean Dark joined the faculty at the Howard University School of Law in the fall of 2001 where she teaches Torts, Products Liability, Advanced Torts and Health Law. She has been Associate Dean for Academic Affairs since July 2005 and also serves on a teaching team on Bioethics at the Howard University Medical School.
Associate Dean Dark served in the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) in Portland, Oregon, where she was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Civil Division and Supervisor of the Community Relations Unit. For her work, both as supervisor of the CRU and the litigation that she handled, Professor Dark received three Special Achievement Awards in official recognition of her achievements and contributions to the Department of Justice. In 1997, she received the 1997 Public Service Award to honor her contributions as a federal employee both on and off the job. Prior to joining the USAO, Professor Dark was on the faculty of the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond, in Richmond, VA. She joined the T.C. Williams faculty in 1984, where she taught Torts, Products Liability, Antitrust and Gender and the Law. She was the recipient of the University of Richmond’s Distinguished Educator Award in 1990 and 1993 and the Distinguished Faculty Award by the Virginia Women Attorneys Association Foundation in 1991. At Howard, she received the Warren Rosmarin Professor Of Law Excellence Award in Teaching and Service and the Graduate Students Award for faculty of the year. She is listed in Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who in Legal Education, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.
Associate Dean Dark has worked on Fair Housing issues for many years. She has offered her personal story as a victim of housing discrimination in a videotape titled “Who Can Ever Get Use to This?” Hope Fair Housing in Wheaton, Illinois produced this videotape. In 1997, she was one of the recipients of the National Fair Housing Alliance’s Awards for Excellence in recognition of her role in the promotion of equal housing opportunity for all. She also received a Hope for People Award in 1991 for her work on Fair Housing Matters from Hope Fair Housing.
Associate Dean Dark is very active in the community where she lives. In Portland, Oregon, she established a Saturday School Program for primary school-age children at the Urban League of Portland for which she received an award as the Outstanding Volunteer in the Urban League’s Education Department in 1997. She was named United Way-Multnomah Volunteer of the Year by the United Way based on her work with the Saturday School program. She also established a Children’s Book Fair (directed at preschool and school age children up to 8th grade) for the Urban League’s annual event known as “Do The Right Thing” Day, which encourages children who are in school and are doing the right thing. This Book Fair continues on an annual basis in Portland now sponsored by the Multnomah County Library.
In the field of health, she was a founding member of the Board of Trustees of the Northwest Health Foundation in Portland, Oregon. She also was the Chair of the Grants committee for that foundation which gave out about $2 million dollars in grants to nonprofit and governmental organizations to improve the health of Oregon and Southwest Washington residents. Presently, she is Chair of the Montgomery County Commission on Health which is the only citizen commission in Montgomery County concerned with public health.
Associate Dean Dark is a member of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bars and an associate member of the Virginia Bar. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree Magna Cum Laude from Upsala College, in East Orange, New Jersey and her Juris Doctor from Rutgers University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. At Rutgers University, Associate Dean Dark was the recipient of the Alumni Senior Prize (awarded to a graduating senior exhibiting the highest achievement in the law school and potential for success in the legal profession).
Commissioner I. King Jordan, President Emeritus, Gallaudet University
I. King Jordan made history in 1988 when he became the first deaf president of Gallaudet University, the world’s only university with all programs and services designed specifically for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. That year Gallaudet students, with support from many alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the University, protested the Board of Trustees’ appointment of a hearing person to the presidency.
Called Deaf President Now (DPN), the week-long protest was a watershed event in the lives of deaf and hard of hearing people all over the world. At its conclusion, the Board reversed its decision and named I. King Jordan, one of three finalists for the position, the eighth president of Gallaudet and the first deaf president since the institution was established in 1864.
Since DPN, I. King Jordan’s leadership has heightened public awareness of the important educational contributions Gallaudet makes to the nation and the world. He serves as an international spokesperson for deaf and hard of hearing people, as well as an advocate for all persons with disabilities. Much sought after as a public speaker, Dr. Jordan continues to challenge the American public to examine their attitudes toward people with disabilities and to open their minds, hearts and workplaces to them.
Dr. Jordan is a native of Glen Riddle, Pennsylvania, a small town near Philadelphia. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Navy and served four years. An automobile accident left him profoundly deaf at age 21.
Dr. Jordan earned a B.A. in psychology from Gallaudet in 1970. The following year he earned an M.A., and in 1973 a Ph.D., both in psychology and both from the University of Tennessee.
Upon receiving his doctorate, Dr. Jordan joined the faculty of Gallaudet’s Department of Psychology. In 1983 he became chair of the department; three years later he was appointed dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
As professor, department chair, dean, and president, Dr. Jordan made numerous scholarly contributions to his field. In addition, he has been a research fellow at Donaldson’s School for the Deaf in Edinburgh, Scotland, an exchange scholar at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, and a visiting scholar and lecturer at schools in Paris, Toulouse, and Marseille, France.
Dr. Jordan holds eleven honorary degrees and is the recipient of numerous awards, among them: the U.S. Presidential Citizen’s Medal, the Washingtonian of the Year Award, the James L. Fisher Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the Larry Stewart Award from the American Psychological Association, and the Distinguished Leadership Award from the National Association for Community Leadership. In 1990, President George Bush appointed Dr. Jordan Vice Chair of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (PCEPD). In 1993, President Clinton reappointed Dr. Jordan Vice Chair of PCEPD.
Dr. Jordan and his wife, Linda have two grown children, I. King III, an associate professor of bioinformatics at Georgia Institutes of Technology, and Heidi, an administrator at the Florida School for the Deaf.
Dr. Jordan stepped down as Gallaudet president on December 31, 2006.
Commissioner Myron Orfield, Executive Director, Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota
Professor Myron Orfield is the Executive Director of the Institute on Race & Poverty, a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and an affiliate faculty member at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute. He teaches and writes in the fields of civil rights, state and local government, state and local finance, land use, questions of regional governance, and the legislative process. For 2005-06, Professor Orfield served as the Fesler-Lampert Chair in Urban and Regional Affairs.
Professor Orfield graduated, summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota, was a graduate student at Princeton University, and has a J.D. from the University of Chicago, where he was a member of the University of Chicago Law Review. Following law school, he clerked for the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit and then returned to the University of Chicago Law School as a Research Associate and Bradley Fellow at the Center for Studies in Criminal Justice. After working as an associate at Faegre & Benson in Minneapolis, he served as a Special Assistant Attorney General of Minnesota in the Solicitor General’s Division.
In 1990, Professor Orfield was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, where he served five terms, and to the Minnesota Senate in 2000, where he served one term. There he was the architect of a series of important changes in land use, fair housing, and school and local government aid programs. His first book, Metropolitics: A Regional Agenda for Community and Stability (Brookings 1997), a study of local government structure and demographic, relates to these efforts. For over a decade, Professor Orfield has been president of a nationally respected regional research organization undertaking studies involving the legal, demographic and land use profiles of various American metropolitan areas. His second book, American Metropolitics: The New Suburban Reality (Brookings 2002), is a compilation of his work involving the nation’s 25 largest regions. Orfield’s third book, Region: Law, Policy and the Future of the Twin Cities is forthcoming (2008, University of Minnesota Press).
Gordon Quan, Former Mayor Pro Tem and Chair of the Housing Committee, City of Houston
Gordon Quan has had a long history of community activism. The first Asian American elected citywide to the Houston City Council and first to serve as Mayor Pro Tem, Gordon believes each person can make a difference.
Born in China but raised in Houston, Gordon was a founding member of the Asian American Bar Association of Houston and the Asian American Coalition. He has served in leadership positions with several organizations – President, Houston Foundation; President, East Downtown Tax Increment Redevelopment Zone; Chair, Blue Ribbon Commission to End Chronic Homelessness in Houston; Chair, Plan for Affordable Housing in Houston; President, Asian American Democrats of Texas; President, Asian Pacific American Municipal Official of the National League of Cities.
Professionally, Gordon is the founder and managing partner of Quan, Burdette and Perez, P.C., one of the largest and most respected U.S. immigration law firms in America with offices in Houston, San Antonio, The Rio Grand Valley and Mexico City. He has been selected for Best Lawyers in America, Texas Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers in Houston, and is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
Gordon continues his community service as a member of the board of directors of the Coalition for the Homeless (Houston), the South Texas College of Law, Catholic Charities, and Neighborhood Center, Inc. He also chairs the Asian Chamber of Commerce and is Vice-chair of the Asia Society, Texas Center.
Gordon has been recognized as a “Trailblazer” by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, “Spirit of America” by the National Chinese American Citizen Alliance, a “Bridge Builder” by the Masons Society (the highest honor given to a non-Mason), “Friend of the Homeless” by the Coalition for the Homeless, “Councilmember of the Year” by the Houston Police Officers Union, a “Voice for Children” by Children at Risk among many others.
Mr. Quan earned degrees from the University of Texas (B.A. 1970), the University of Houston (M.Ed. 1973) and the South Texas College of Law (J.D. 1977).
Above all, Gordon Quan has always been a person who cares deeply about others and has tried to make life better for all. Married to the former Sylvia Lau for more than 30 years, they are the parents of three daughters, Caroline and husband Patrick Long, Kristen and husband Hunter Hammill, Katherine and grand-daughter Victoria Long