Washington, D.C., April 8, 2010--The nation's leading conservative think tank is starting a grassroots advocacy group to actively encourage lawmakers to embrace its free-market, limited government policy prescriptions for what ails America.
Edwin J. Feulner, president of the 633,000-member Heritage Foundation, today announced the formation of Heritage Action for America.
"Heritage Action will answer the demand of our rapidly growing membership to help them play a more active and effective role in national policy debates," Feulner said. "Heritage Action will focus its energy and grassroots strength and apply them where it can have the biggest impact on moving good legislative proposals or blocking ruinous measures.
"The goal here is to take Heritage's practical, research-based policy recommendations, and see them through into law," Feulner added.
The new organization will be headed by two Heritage Foundation alumni. Michael A. Needham, a former chief of staff to Feulner, will be Heritage Action's CEO. Needham also served as director of Heritage's Asian Studies Center before leaving to take a post in Rudy Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign.
Timothy J. Chapman, Feulner's most recent chief of staff, will be chief operating officer of Heritage Action for America. Chapman previously worked as director of Heritage's Center for Media and Public Policy and, earlier, as the think tank's deputy director of Senate relations. He also has extensive experience on Capitol Hill, where he served three conservative senators.
"The Heritage Foundation's membership has more than doubled in the last two years, and they --and hundreds of thousands more who share Heritage's conservative principles-- are eager to fight for conservative solutions to today's problems," Needham said. "Heritage Action will allow them to exert their influence on their elected officials in new and creative ways."
Needham stressed that the new group will focus exclusively on "policy politics," not electoral politics. "We will not endorse candidates; we will not contribute to political campaigns or PACs," he said.
"We are all about policy," Needham added. "To paraphrase Ronald Reagan: While The Heritage Foundation continues to shine the 'light' of effective policy recommendations, Heritage Action will provide the political 'heat' to help lawmakers warm to those policies."
Heritage Action for America will be "an independent organization with the shared mission of promoting sound conservative policies," Feulner said. It will be based in Washington, D.C., and plans to have a staff of 10 by the end of the year.
Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation has long been the nation's most broadly supported think tank. Its staff now numbers 255.