|31st United States Secretary of Commerce|
April 12, 1996 - January 21, 1997
|11th United States Trade Representative|
January 22, 1993 - April 12, 1996
|Born||August 7, 1939|
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Valerie Woods (died 1978)
Heidi Schulman (m. 1982)
|Education||Vanderbilt University (BA)|
Georgetown University (JD)
Michael 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.
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, 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. 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 formerly served and is founder of the LA 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). Kantor also engaged in organizing 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, an international law firm based in Chicago. Currently, he is the Board of Directors Co-Chair of Vision to Learn and the University of Southern California Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy; a Board officer of Drug Strategies; a Leadership Council member of the Sargent Shriver Center on Poverty Law; a Steering Committee member of Japan House; and a Board member of Lexmark International, Inc. and the Pacific Council on International Policy.
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. 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.