Love him or not – Ed Feulner was the big kahuna at the Heritage Foundation. He was the architect of the now behemoth conservative think tank, and when he stepped down, Senator Jim DeMint stepped up to the plate. DeMint’s tenure, however, was short-lived and so it was back to the drawing board for the Heritage Foundation Search Committee. And search they did.
By way of self-disclosure my best friend, Abby Moffat was on that committee and is a member of the Heritage Board. But like most BFF’s we rarely talk business and as a consummate professional Ms. Moffat told me nothing of the internal selection process at Heritage.
Yesterday following the bold choice of Kay Coles James as the new President of the Heritage Foundation, Ms. Moffat agreed to go on the record about Ms. James who ultimately “pulled a Dick Cheney.” James was the head of the search committee and wound up being chosen for the top job.
Having worked with Ms. James for years, Ms. Moffat told Liberty Nation:
“Kay is a woman of faith who transcends race and gender – to her friends she is just Kay – a smart, actually brilliant woman of substance, heart, and generosity. She is a change agent and can speak across party lines. You could put her as a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or with inner-city kids, and Kay is comfortable in both settings – her impact is amazing.”
Kay Coles James: A Bold Choice
Most of the coverage about Kay Coles James starts with the fact that she is a black woman. While true, this is a superficial look at a most extraordinary woman with a long track record in conservative politics and public service.
Ms. James has a resume as long as your arm and has long been a player in Virginia politics and on the national scene. And her involvement with the Heritage Foundation goes back 25 years. Among her previous employers, President George W. Bush, President Ronald Reagan, and Virginia Governor. George Allen. To put it plainly, James is not a new kid on the block.
In many ways, The Swamp resembles a little pond. Rather than a vast shapeless void, most people in this town know each other, and Kay Coles James is recognized and has distinguished herself in conservative circles. She is and has been a part of this town’s inner circle for a long time.
A Humble Beginning
Ms. James is the product of a welfare mom and an absentee father. At age 12 she was part of school integration in Virginia. It was a frightening time, but Kay says she emerged stronger, more resolute and “God used that in shaping me into who I am today,” according to The Daily Signal.
Yesterday when the announcement was made at Heritage, Ms. James was given a standing ovation and if you know anything about Kay Coles James – this doesn’t come as a surprise.
The Heritage Foundation is one of the most influential think tanks in the U.S. if not the world. All the major conservative players bow to and are vetted by Heritage. It was established in 1973 by businessman Joseph Coors and is now one of the largest conservative organizations in the country with influence that stretches far and wide. As such, Ms. James is in the cat-bird seat, and it will be fascinating to see what she makes of this extraordinary opportunity.
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