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Thursday, December 06, 2012

U.S. Senator Jim DeMint Resigning, Will Be President Of The Heritage Foundation

By Susan Duclos

Via Wall Street Journal:

South Carolina U.S. Senator Jim DeMint will replace Ed Feulner as president of the Heritage Foundation. Mr. DeMint will leave his post as South Carolina's junior senator in early January to take control of the Washington think tank, which has an annual budget of about $80 million.

Sen. DeMint's departure means that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, will name a successor, who will have to run in a special election in 2014. In that year, both Mr. DeMint's replacement and Sen. Lindsey Graham will be running for reelection in South Carolina.

Mr. DeMint was reelected to a second term in 2010. The 61-year-old senator had announced earlier that he would not seek a third term.

Below is the announcement from Heritage:

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) will leave the U.S. Senate next year to become president of The Heritage Foundation, succeeding Edwin J. Feulner, the man who first envisioned the think tank in 1973 and has led it as president for the past 36 years.

Heritage’s Board of Trustees unanimously chose DeMint as the organization’s next leader, starting April 3. DeMint will resign from the Senate and start as President-elect in early January, so he and Feulner can ensure a smooth transition. After April, Feulner will continue serving as Chancellor of the Foundation and Chairman of our Asian Studies Center.

Heritage Chairman of the Board Thomas A. Saunders announced the decision to employees this morning:
 Jim DeMint has shown that principled conservatism remains a winning political philosophy. His passion for rigorous research, his dedication to the principles of our nation’s founding, and his ability to translate policy ideas into action make him an ideal choice to lead Heritage to even greater success.
Feulner, who announced three years ago that he would retire in April 2013, may be the hardest act to follow in Washington D.C. Under his leadership, Heritage helped launch missile defense under President Ronald Reagan and welfare reform under President Clinton and Speaker Newt Gingrich. During the past four years, Heritage has led a principled fight against Obamacare and has taken a lead in advancing the case for entitlement reform.

Feulner’s name figures among those of Friedman, Buckley and Bartley in the annals of conservatism. Bill Buckley launched the conservative movement as a modern force in Sharon, CT, in 1960; Milton Friedman and Bob Bartley gave it its economic underpinnings and Dr. Feulner organized it under his maxim of “adding and multiplying” conservative forces. He built Heritage into a permanent Washington institution, the leading think tank in America. After long consideration, Heritage’s board decided that the man in Washington to take the reins from Feulner was DeMint. He stood out as the right man at the right time for Heritage and the country.

>>> Watch video of DeMint speaking about Heritage’s influence

Throughout his time in Congress, DeMint has consistently stood for policies that make our country prosperous, strong and free, even when speaking up for these principles was not the easy path. Along the way, he created a movement of principled conservatives that consistently make the right decisions. The so-called DeMint caucus includes such names as Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, Rand Paul, Mike Lee and now Ted Cruz—a group that could be called the 1927 Yankees of conservatism. Now DeMint will lead this effort from an intellectual powerhouse—Ronald Reagan’s favorite think tank.

What this means is that the intellectual rigor and innovative ideas of our scholars and researchers, as well as our strong membership base, will now be united with the most effective, principled political leader on Capitol Hill. As everyone knows, this is a crucial time for conservatism, and Heritage must seize the moment.

Despite what you may hear, conservative philosophy hasn’t failed, but we need to help all Americans connect the dots so they can see why bad progressive policies ruin their lives. Conservatism comes into the battle of ideas with some rhetorical drawbacks: by definition, it does not chase after fads, divide the country by pandering or promise easy fixes. But it comes with some decidedly powerful advantages; conservatism speaks about transcendent and self-evident truths—it tells us what our conscience already knows. Conservatism also stands for virtues that have stood the test of time. Lastly, conservatism prescribes policies that, if adhered to, will bear the fruits of freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society.

With the decision we announce today, the Board of Trustees has affirmed the importance of our principles—built on our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

[Update] Email from Heritage's Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D:

Dear Susan,

Three years ago, I told the Heritage Foundation's Board of Trustees that I would step down as president in April of 2013. I urged them to set up a formal succession process and begin a national search.

During their nationwide search, the Board looked for a successor who would keep Heritage on its course of growth and innovation, and preserve our widely acknowledged status as an institutional center of the conservative movement. And the Board has found a splendid successor.

I'm delighted to announce that the Board has elected Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina to take over next April as President of The Heritage Foundation.

Jim, who will resign his Senate seat before then, needs little introduction. He has spent most of his life as an entrepreneur, building and running his own marketing firm. In 1998 he won a seat in the House of Representatives and in 2004 was elected to the Senate.

His conservative credentials are sterling. National Journal recently ranked him as the most conservative member of the Senate. Americans for Tax Reform named him the No. 1 senator for his voting record on tax and spending policies. He is a favorite of the Tea Party, and he has earned a tremendous 99% rating from Heritage Action for America.

It puts my mind at ease to know that Jim's capable hands will take the helm. I know Heritage will continue to uphold the same high standards and conservative principles that we have since our founding in 1973.

We will remain committed to principle

And it's no surprise that our Board chose a principled leader like Jim DeMint. Everything we do at Heritage is guided by our mission statement. It is even written in our charter that Heritage is established "to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense."

Heritage's Trustees are the guardians of the institution's integrity. All are conservatives dedicated to preserving America's freedoms.

Moreover, our Board committed a decade ago not to follow in the footsteps of all too many organizations that lurch to the left over time. They pledged that all candidates for senior management and trustee are vetted "to ensure that they are totally committed to the Heritage Vision and Mission."
I hope you will join me in knowing that Jim will not only preserve the Heritage mission but will also lead the institution to greater achievements as America's premiere conservative institution.

Our plan for the coming months

Between now and April, I'll spend time with Jim showing him the ins and outs of my duties as president.

In April, my wife Linda and I will take an extended vacation -- in part to allow Jim the freedom to take the reins. After that, I will remain involved with The Heritage Foundation and the conservative movement. I will continue as a Heritage Trustee and advisor to the team and as an enthusiastic supporter of Jim's leadership.

I hope you will join me and the entire conservative movement as I welcome Jim DeMint and a new era of our fight for freedom. Thank you for all you do.