|31st United States Secretary of Commerce|
April 12, 1996 – January 21, 1997
|Preceded by||Ron Brown|
|Succeeded by||Bill Daley|
|11th United States Trade Representative|
January 22, 1993 – April 12, 1996
|Preceded by||Carla Hills|
|Succeeded by||Charlene Barshefsky|
|Born||August 7, 1939|
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Valerie Woods (Deceased 1978)|
Heidi Schulman (1982–present)
|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 of Jewish parents, 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. It was during this time that he first met Hillary Clinton. 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 also co-founded the Los Angeles 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). His efforts were broadly criticized by organized labor and environmentalists alike, for refusing to consider fundamental worker and environmental health issues in the core agreements. President Clinton later acknowledged the errors of his administration in relegating these key economic concerns to legally weak side agreements, while favoring large business interests in the NAFTA treaty document. "I think it was a mistake. I think it was part of a global trend that was wrong-headed." Kantor also engaged in organizating 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 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.
| United States Trade Representative
| United States Secretary of Commerce