Heritage Foundation names new president

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The Heritage Foundation on Thursday announced the next president of the influential conservative think tank, tapping scholar and educator Kevin Roberts for the job.

“Heritage has led the conservative movement with distinction and its policy solutions have improved the lives of our fellow citizens,” Roberts said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing this legacy and addressing the challenges we face today and in the future.”

Roberts comes from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a nonprofit research institute based in Texas that has grown rapidly under his leadership. Roberts previously founded his own K-12 Catholic school in Louisiana and later became president of Catholic College in Wyoming.

Roberts will officially take over later this year and replace Kay Cole James, who has served as president of Heritage since 2018. The organization gained significant influence in the conservative movement and the GOP during the Obama administration.

The head of Heritage Action, the advocacy arm of the foundation, praised the hire in a statement.

“Dr. Kevin Roberts has been a great ally to Heritage Action and to the grassroots activists of Texas in his role as president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He has helped lead the conservative movement in Texas through top-notch research on election integrity, critical race theory, economic freedom, and other vital policy areas,” Heritage Action executive director Jessica Anderson said in a statement. “I can think of no one better to take the reins of the Heritage Foundation, and I am thrilled to continue working with Kevin in his new role.”

Its influence waned during former President Trump’s administration, when other grassroots conservative groups and outsiders gained a foothold with the president and his allies and Trump upended traditional conservative orthodoxy.

Still, Heritage is a well-known conservative organization that is likely to play a significant role in the 2022 midterm elections and leading into the 2024 presidential election.

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who is a distinguished visiting fellow at Heritage and considered a possible 2024 presidential candidate, congratulated Roberts in a tweet on Thursday.

“As CEO of @TPPF, Kevin’s strong commitment to Conservative solutions will ensure Heritage remains the Flagship of the Conservative Movement across America!” Pence tweeted. 

Updated at 11:51 a.m.

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