Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Jack French Kemp (1989–1993): Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Jack French Kemp was born July 13, 1935, in Los Angeles, California. Kemp attended Occidental College (B.A., 1957) and played professional football for over a decade (1957-1970) with the Buffalo Bills.

At the same time, he served in the U.S. Army Reserve (1958-1962), as special assistant to the governor of California (1967), and on the staff of the Republican National Committee (1970). In 1970, Kemp was elected to Congress from western New York, and remained in the House of Representatives from 1971 to 1989.

Kemp was an unsuccessful candidate for the 1988 Republican nomination for President of the United States but would serve President Bush as secretary of housing and urban development from 1989 to 1993. He ran unsuccessfully as Robert Dole's vice presidential nominee on the Republican ticket in 1996. Kemp is co-founder of Empower America (1993) and has served as chairman of the National Commission on Economic and Tax Reform (1995).