|Kenneth Suggeet "Kenn" George|
Texas State Representative
for District 108 (Dallas County)
1999 – 2003
|Preceded by||Carolyn Galloway|
|Succeeded by||Dan Branch|
|Born||June 25, 1948|
|Political party||Republican |
|Spouse(s)|| Tricia Mast George|
|Alma mater||Washington and Lee University|
Kenneth Suggett George, known as Kenn George (born June 25, 1948), is a self-employed businessman from Dallas, Texas, who was named in 2018 by U.S. President Donald Trump as the United States Ambassador to Uruguay.
Earlier from 1999 to 2003, George was a Republican state representative for District 108, which covers the heart of Dallas County. He left the legislature in an unsuccessful bid for Texas land commissioner in the 2002 Republican primary election. He lost the nomination to Jerry Patterson, a former state senator from Houston.
From 1981 to 1985, George was an assistant secretary of commerce, under Malcolm Baldrige, Jr., during the first term of U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan. In this capacity, George was involved in the formulation of the Caribbean Basin Initiative, experience which led to his selection as ambassador to Uruguay. and the specific stabilization of the Caribbean island of Grenada after its liberation in 1983 from a leftist regime backed by Fidel Castro. The CBI, since overshadowed by the North American Free Trade Agreement, was an unprecedented package of trade, assistance, and tax incentives for United States and Caribbean businesses. In the additional role as the Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, George chaired an inter-agency committee which oversees the operations of the CBI.
Native Texan George attended San Jacinto Junior High School in Midland with George W. Bush, who is two years George's senior. In 1970, George graduated from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. He earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was the student body president of the graduate business school. Like Bush, George is a veteran of the Texas National Guard. George and his wife, Tricia, have four children.
George is a former president of Olix Industries, a publicly traded energy company. He co-founded Epic Healthcare Group, a $1.4 billion corporation with nearly 15,000 employees operating in 37 hospitals in 30 states. George is also a former executive with Trammell Crow real estate development in Dallas and a third-generation rancher.
In 1998, George unseated incumbent Republican State Representative Carolyn Galloway in the party primary, 6,063 votes (56.4 percent) to 4,867 (43.6 percent). He was then unopposed in the general election, having won 27,220 votes. Four years later in the two-man land commissioner's race, George trailed with 252,802 votes (43.5 percent) to Patterson's 328,523 (56.5 percent). George was succeeded in the House by Moderate Republican attorney Dan Branch, a devotee of former U.S. Senator John Tower, a former conservative who turned Moderate Republican in his later senatorial years.
As a state lawmaker, George sided with conservatives in seeking lower taxes, local control over education, and an improved business climate. He also advocated improved health care for senior citizens. The Texas Association of Business and Chambers of Commerce cited George with a "100 percent pro-business voting record. He has also been honored by Right to Life in Austin, the American Cancer Society, and the Texas Transplant Society. George wrote the House bill establishing the Umbilical Cord Blood Bank, which provides medical researchers an ethical alternative to stem cell research.
George's Republican credentials began in 1964, when as a sixteen-year-old he volunteered in Midland to work in the unsuccessful Barry Goldwater presidential bid against the Texas Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson. He was an early supporter of George W. Bush, having been part of the unsuccessful congressional race in 1978 against then Democrat and later Republican Kent Hance, the former chancellor of Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He was also the Midland County Republican finance chairman at the time. Thereafter, he was the Texas GOP state finance chairman from from 1980 to 1981. Over the years, George worked in campaigns of former U.S. Senator William Phillip Gramm, U.S. Representatives Pete Sessions and Jeb Hensarling, then Texas Governor Rick Perry, and unsuccessful 1990 candidates Jack Rains, who contested the gubernatorial nomination against Kent Hance, Clayton Wheat Williams, Jr., and Robert Mosbacher, Jr., the Houston businessman who challenged Democrat Bob Bullock for lieutenant governor that same year.
After his legislative service, George became self-employed in Dallas in investments. In 2002, he joined the board of directors of the interest group, Citizens for a Sound Economy. He remains a large Republican donor, having contributed to Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and Rudy Giuliani in the Republican presidential primaries of 2008.
As the chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party, George and then state Representative Tony Goolsby of House District 102 were sued for libel in 2007 in the 192nd Texas District Court in Dallas by Goolsby's former Democratic legislative opponent, Harriet Miller. The suit contends that George and Goolsby filed a false voter complaint against Miller with the Dallas County district attorney. Miller then claimed that the complaint was used in 2006 to attack her campaign and to suppress African-American voter turnout.
- Kenneth George (Dallas, Texas). Mylife.com. Retrieved on January 11, 2020.
- United States Ambassador to Uruguay: Who Is Kenn George?. allgov.com (April 29, 2018). Retrieved on January 11, 2020.
- Reagan Republican Kenn George: The Perfect Fit for Texas Land Commissioner. kenngeorge.com. Retrieved on March 30, 2010; no longer on-line.
- Larry Theriot (March 5, 1984). US & FCS and the Caribbean Basin Initiative - Foreign Commercial Service. findarticles.com. Retrieved on April 2, 2010; no longer accessible.
- Kenn S. George Joins CSE Board of Directors. freedomworks.org (December 18, 2002). Retrieved on January 8, 2020.
- Texas Secretary of State, Election Returns, 1998 and 2002.
- Kenn George: Republican Leader. kenngeorge.com. Retrieved on March 30, 2010; no longer on-line.
- Kenn George Political Campaign Contributions 2008 Political Cycle. campaignmoney.com. Retrieved on January 8, 2020.
- Lone Star Project: Fighting Back with Facts: Rep. Tony Goolsby and Kenn George Charged in Libel Suit. lonestarproject.net. Retrieved on March 31, 2010; no longer on-line.