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Former U.S. Trade Representative
Ambassador Ron Kirk is respected member of President Obama’s Cabinet, he was the principal advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on trade issues and a member of the president’s economics team. Kirk led negotiations to complete long-pending trade deals with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama and was on the frontlines of enforcing trade rules with China and other foreign competitors.
As trade representative from 2009–2013, Kirk led the Obama administration’s market-opening negotiations and dialogue with trading partners around the world. In 2010, he scored an important victory as South Korea and the U.S. completed a free-trade agreement that eliminated most tariff exports and solidified one of America’s most important alliances. Kirk also garnered bilateral free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama and advanced the ambitious regional Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, a U.S.-led free trade pact with 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Before leaving the White House, Kirk worked on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, an agreement between the United States and the 27-nation European Union that would cover half the world’s economic output.
With a law degree from the University of Texas, Kirk went to work for Senator Lloyd Bentsen and later was named the secretary of state of Texas. He was elected as the mayor of Dallas and served two terms from 1995–2002.
Editor and Publisher of The Cook Political Report
Columnist for the National Journal
For more than two decades, Charlie Cook has been Washington’s most trusted – and most accurate – voice on all things political, whether it’s the outcome of a Congressional, gubernatorial, or presidential election. With his encyclopedic knowledge, memorable stories, quick wit, and meaningful insights, Cook focuses on the broad implications of the latest election results. Using poll numbers, economic indicators and historical data, Cook forecasts the fortunes of each party in a balanced, non-partisan manner and furnishes audiences with the concrete information they need regarding today’s political and legislative environments.
Cook is the editor and publisher of The Cook Political Report and a political analyst for the National Journal Group. He writes weekly for National Journal magazine and National Journal Daily, and he also pens a regular column for The Washington Quarterly.
In its feature “The Top 50 Journalists in Washington,” The Washingtonian called Cook a “master observer” and “the man who knows more about politics than anyone else,” and in 2010 Cook was a co-recipient of the American Political Science Association’s prestigious Carey McWilliams Award to honor “a major journalistic contribution to our understanding of politics.”
Cook’s expertise has been featured on the ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news programs, as well as Good Morning America, TODAY Show, Nightline, Meet the Press and This Week. He has also been an election night analyst for CNN, CBS and NBC News for every presidential election since 1994.
Last year, Cook served as a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
CEO, SupermarketGuru.com/ The Lempert Report
Phil Lempert is an expert analyst on consumer behavior, marketing trends, new products and the changing retail landscape. Known as The Supermarket Guru®, Lempert is a distinguished author who alerts customers and business leaders to impending corporate and consumer trends, and empowers them to make educated purchasing and marketing decisions.
Lempert is the food trends editor and correspondent for NBC News’ TODAY Show, and appears weekly on ABC News Now with his new product reviews. He has appeared numerous times on The View, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, CNN, CNBC, Discovery Health and MSNBC, as well as on local television morning and news programs throughout the country. He is the host of the syndicated weekly radio program "Good Day with the SupermarketGuru" which is listened to by 1.2 million people.
Lempert founded SupermarketGuru.com in 1994, Phil’s Supermarket on Second Life in 2007, and in January of 2010 launched Koodies.net – a social network for kid “foodies” and their parents.
Lempert is a columnist for Everyday with Rachel Ray, the Chicago Sun-Times and is Contributing Editor and Columnist for Supermarket News. He is the founder and editor of the daily e-newsletter and web trend video The Lempert Report as well as “Facts, Figures & the Future,” “Food Nutrition & Science” and “SupermarketGuru Newsflash.” He has written five books: Being the Shopper, Healthy, Wealthy & Wise, Phil Lempert’s Supermarket Shopping & Value Guide, and Top Ten Trends for Baby Boomers and Crisis Management: A Workbook for Survival.