(CNSNews.com) – Conservative South Carolina GOP Senator Jim DeMint is leaving his seat in early January to take over as president of the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. Heritage was co-founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich (d. 2008) and has been led by Ed Feulner for the last 36 years.
In an announcement to Heritage employees today, Chairman of the Board Thomas A. Saunders said, “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.”
DeMint will officially start as president of Heritage on April 3, 2013. A statement at Heritage’s blog, The Foundry, said, “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,” stated The Foundry. “Now DeMint will lead this effort from an intellectual powerhouse—Ronald Reagan’s favorite think tank.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said of the announcement, "There is no better choice than Jim DeMint to lead this great organization. It is disappointing to lose his strong voice in the Senate, but I look forward to his continued conservative leadership at the helm of The Heritage Foundation. The folks at Heritage are an indispensable ideas factory for conservatives in Congress. South Carolina’s loss is the country’s gain.”
It was long-known that Feulner planned to step down as president of Heritage in April 2013. Under his direction and leadership, Heritage grew to become the most influential conservative think tank in the nation. It fought consistently against Obamacare over the last four years and has long issued analyses and policy prescriptions for reforming entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, and preserving America's security through a strong national defense.
The Heritage Foundation employs 275 people and has a current annual budget of $82.4 million.
Commenting on the choice of DeMint to lead Heritage, ForAmerica Chairman L. Brent Bozell III said, “This is a short term loss for the U.S. Senate but it's an early Christmas gift for the Republic. Senator Jim DeMint is the best possible choice to succeed Ed Feulner. He is a true patriot and defender of the Constitution, unfortunately a rarity on Capitol Hill these days."
ForAmerica is a grassroots conservative group committed to traditional American principles. Bozell, who is also president of the Media Research Center, the parent organization of CNSNews.com, further said that DeMint "is a tireless guardian of the unborn and a staunch defender of the traditional values and religious liberties that made America the great nation she is today."
“[T]his is a crucial time for conservatism, and Heritage must seize the moment,” stated The Foundry. “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.”
DeMint (b. 1951), from Greenville, South Carolina, has been the junior senator from that state since 2005. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1999-2005. He is married to Debbie Henderson DeMint.