Over the course of 40 years of distinguished public service, former U.S. Sen. Christopher S. “Kit” Bond earned a reputation as a skilled statesman able to build coalitions and effectively work across party lines.
He began his political career with a one-year term as Missouri state auditor—defeating an 18-year incumbent—before being elected the state’s youngest governor in 1972. He was 33 years old when he was sworn in as Missouri’s 47th governor and became the first Republican to hold that office in 28 years.
After serving a second term as Missouri governor from 1981–85, he won his first of four terms on the U.S. Senate in 1986.
As vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and then as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Bond was known for his efforts to reform the U.S. intelligence community, garner support for a strong and well-equipped military, and improve care for veterans.
He also worked to replace aging and uninhabitable public housing units with family-friendly mixed-use housing, and he led the fight to help end homelessness and reduce lead-paint poisoning among children in public housing.
More on Kit Bond
• From his website
• From St. Louis Public Radio
• From Missouri State University
• From the Bipartisan Policy Center
From the Unites States Courts
• His farewell speech on C-SPAN
He has been recognized as a leading advocate in the promotion of plant biotechnology to meet the growing global demand for nutrition and food. He was a board member of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, which was founded in 1998 by Washington University’s chancellor emeritus, the late William H. Danforth.
Throughout his career in public office, Senator Bond worked to develop policies that strengthened the connection between parents and children and helped keep kids healthy. He considers one of his greatest accomplishments as governor was helping to expand the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program, which began in 1981 in Missouri as a pilot project to help first-time parents embrace their important role as their child’s first and best teacher.
Bond, who enrolled his son, Sam, in the PAT home visiting model during the organization’s pilot stage, understood the organization’s significance. With his influence, the Missouri General Assembly passed the Early Childhood Education Act to establish the PAT program statewide in 1984.
Through his continued advocacy as a U.S. senator and his sponsorship of legislation allocating $5 million for a PAT national center, he helped the organization expand to all 50 states and six countries. Today, Senator Bond serves on PAT’s Board of Directors.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton praised the senator when he signed the Bond-co-sponsored Family and Medical Leave Act that required companies with more than 50 employees to allow workers to have leave for childbirth, family illness or other emergencies.
An early leader in efforts to expand economic opportunities for American companies and institutions globally, Senator Bond traveled extensively in East and Southeast Asia, building relationships with leaders across the region.
In 2009, he co-authored, with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lewis M. Simons, The Next Front: Southeast Asia and the Road to Global Peace with Islam, which outlines the importance of increased American engagement in the region.
After 24 years in the Senate, Senator Bond delivered his farewell address on December 14, 2010. Shortly after leaving office, he joined the law firm of Thompson Coburn LLP. In November 2011, he started his own firm, Kit Bond Strategies, where he continues to serve as chairman and partner.
He continued his work on advancing American interests in Southeast Asia and served during 2010–11 on a commission for the Center for Strategic & International Studies that provided recommendations for a long-term partnership between the U.S. and Southeast Asia.
Among his visits to Washington University, Senator Bond delivered the keynote address for the university’s 2010 McDonnell International Scholars Academy symposium on the future of global energy. He also took part in a conversation with former U.S. House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt during the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement’s “Perspectives Across the Aisle” discussion in 2012.
A sixth-generation Missourian, Senator Bond grew up in Mexico, Missouri. He graduated cum laude from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and received a law degree from the University of Virginia, where he graduated first in his class.
Among his awards and honors, in 1999, he and Representative Gephardt received the Science Coalition’s Langer Award in recognition of their advocacy for federal government support of basic research. Senator Bond also received the 2011 Harry S. Truman Legacy of Leadership Award from the Truman Library Institute.
Senator Bond resides in St. Louis with his wife, Linda. His son, Sam, who served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, and his wife, Margaret Crews, live in Atlanta and have two children.