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October 21, 2021

The Incoming CEO at Heritage Foundation: Dr. Kevin Roberts

The nation’s premier think tank welcomes the former director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Our colleagues at The Heritage Foundation reached far outside the Beltway for the think tank’s next leader, Kevin Roberts. Kevin, the seventh president of Heritage since its founding in 1973, will replace current president Kay James, a regular columnist with The Patriot Post. James will continue to serve on the Board of Trustees.

Many of us have known and trusted Kevin as a solid conservative leader for years, and he is a welcome addition to the Heritage presidential lineage.

Barb Van Andel-Gaby, chairman of Heritage’s Board of Trustees, said of the incoming president:

Since last spring, Heritage’s Board of Trustees has been searching for a leader who demonstrates an unwavering commitment to Heritage’s mission and the conservative principles that guide our research. After looking at candidates from across the country and throughout the conservative movement, one person truly stood out: Heritage’s trustees have unanimously elected Dr. Kevin Roberts as our next president. While there were many outstanding candidates we interviewed during the search process, Kevin was the best choice to lead The Heritage Foundation at this pivotal time in our nation’s history. Kevin has an entrepreneurial spirit and a deep enthusiasm for conservative solutions, and he will bring with him a different perspective as a D.C. outsider. Kevin’s natural leadership talents and commitment to our mission make him the right fit for Heritage. He will ensure that our unprecedented influence on Capitol Hill continues, and he shares our belief that Heritage must lead not only conservatives — but America — with a positive vision for the future.

Roberts currently serves as the chief executive officer of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an Austin-based research institute and the largest state think tank in the nation. Under Roberts’s leadership, TPPF more than doubled in size. He also expanded the Texas think tank’s influence nationwide, opening an office in Washington, DC, so that TPPF research might better inform federal policy debates.

Former Republican Texas state Representative Ron Simmons, who was a distinguished senior fellow at Texas Public Policy Foundation, described Roberts as an “incredible leader as well as a consensus builder, which is hard to find in today’s politics.” He added: “While he is obviously very strong in his values and his policy beliefs, he is also very much interested in the people that work with him and the people that he associates with. I could not think of a better leader for Heritage at this time.”

As president of Heritage Foundation, Roberts will continue to lead policy research efforts on many of the issues he championed at TPPF, including education, healthcare, border security, election integrity, and more, and his leadership will also be critical in pushing back on the radical, socialist agenda being advanced by the Left at all levels of government. At a time when so many bad ideas are coming out of Washington, his experience advancing sound policy at the state and national levels will be vital.

For his part, Roberts said:

I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead The Heritage Foundation and honored the board selected me as its next president. Heritage has led the conservative movement with distinction and its policy solutions have improved the lives of our fellow citizens. I look forward to continuing this legacy and addressing the challenges we face today and in the future. Heritage is known throughout the conservative movement and policy community as a solutions factory. As a lifelong, movement conservative, I have always seen Heritage as the beacon of conservatism and of the American dream. In recent years, as I have worked with Heritage scholars on several issues, I came to appreciate Heritage’s critical role at this particular point in history. Coming from a state as free and prosperous as Texas, I’m eager to share the innovative ideas we developed and build on them.

(You can view his acceptance remarks here.)

A lifelong educator, Roberts earned his Ph.D. in American history from the University of Texas. After several years of teaching history at the collegiate level, in 2006 he left the university to found John Paul the Great Academy, an outstanding co-ed K-12 school in Lafayette, Louisiana, specializing in a rigorous classical education in the liberal arts and sciences. He served as the academy’s president and headmaster for seven years.

In 2013, he was recruited as president of Wyoming Catholic College. Under his leadership, the college adopted a policy of refusing to accept federal student loans and grants, lest it be forced to violate Catholic tenets. This independent stance led The New York Times to describe the school as being full of “cowboy Catholics.”

Kay James noted:

I’m thrilled that the board has chosen Kevin to lead The Heritage Foundation. While Heritage ranks as the top think tank in the world for our impact and we have experienced truly incredible achievements during our nearly 50 years, there is still work to be done to ensure that we are prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the next 50 years. Kevin is here to take Heritage to the next level. Throughout the interview process, I quickly came to see that — of all the incredible candidates for this position — Kevin had the vision, the passion, the leadership ability, and that down-to-his-core commitment to the True North principles of conservatism combined in one single package that made him the obvious choice to lead Heritage.

Welcome aboard, Kevin!

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776

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