People we love: Jack Kemp

Jack French Kemp, July 13, 1935 – May 2, 2009

Born on this day in 1935

Congressman, Housing Secretary, Football Player, Vice Presidential Candidate. Jack Kemp was many things.

Jack Kemp was born and raised in California. He attended and played football for Occidental College. He was drafted with the Detroit Lions in 1957, and spent time with the Pittsburg Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, the Los Angeles Chargers. But “his” team was the Buffalo Bills where he played from 1962-1969.

Kemp was a economic conservative, advocating low taxes and supply-side policies. He was the architect of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, also known as the Kemp-Roth tax cut.

I heard Jack Kemp speak for the first time at CPAC in 1986. I was working for the American Legisalive Exchange Counci (ALEC) at the time. Over the years he spoked at several of our events.

When I left ALEC, for a brief time I worked for Jack Kemp as he was contemplating another run for the Presidency. I had the chance to go with him and his team to Super Bowl XXVIII in Atlanta. I knew I needed to cheer for the Buffalo Bills.

Many of us were ready to go all the way to the White House with Jack. But he decided not to run. Later, Bob Dole chose him as his running mate in 1996.

Jack Kemp died of cancer on May 2, 2009. President George W. Bush said that Kemp “will be remembered for his significant contributions to the Reagan Revolution and his steadfast dedication to conservative principles during his long and distinguished career in public service.”

Indeed. It was an honor to have known and worked for him.

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