Jack Kemp’s message of hope and compassion mixed with fiscal conservatism, lower taxes, less government, and individual empowerment guided me throughout my years in business and politics. His lasting impact on the Republican Party and conservatism will also be honored today as seven Republican White House hopefuls take the stage at an event in South Carolina that bears his name.
It’s fitting that the Jack Kemp Foundation would host an event on “Expanding Opportunity.” After all, when others spoke of malaise and an America in decline in the 1970’s, Jack spoke of an “American Renaissance.” This forward looking optimism is what defined Jack’s personality and brand of conservatism, and in many ways a broader idea of the American dream.
It is also fitting that House Speaker Paul Ryan – whom I met for the first time as he was working for Jack at Empower America – will moderate the event along with South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.
The candidates in the race for the White House could certainly use a dose of optimism, as Gerry Seib for the Wall Street Journal put it. Perhaps tomorrow will serve as a jumping off point, as the forum honors the vision and legacy of Jack Kemp. For a race that has been filled with the kind of bombastic rhetoric and negativity that my great friend would loath, we certainly could use it.