Washington, D.C., April 4, 2013
—The Heritage Foundation begins a new chapter today as Jim DeMint, the former senator from South Carolina, replaces Ed Feulner as president of the 40-year-old think tank.
Feulner was a founding trustee of Heritage and had served as president for the last 36 years. Under his leadership, the organization grew from a staff of 25 operating on a shoestring budget to an $80-million-a-year institution with a staff of 250 and worldwide reputation for rigorous research and innovative policy recommendations.
The Heritage Board of Trustees announced in December that it had selected DeMint to succeed Feulner. DeMint resigned his U.S. Senate seat at the beginning of the year and, since Jan. 3, functioned as Heritage president-elect during a three-month transition.
DeMint rose to national prominence spearheading a conservative resurgence in the Senate. He helped channel the grassroots Tea Party movement into a potent political force and recruited successful conservative candidates for national office in each of the last two national elections.
“Ed Feulner has made Heritage not just a permanent institution on Capitol Hill, but the flagship organization of the entire conservative movement,” Board Chairman Thomas A. Saunders said in December. “Jim DeMint has shown that principled conservatism remains a winning political philosophy. He is firmly committed to Heritage's immutable mission: to build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish.”
DeMint has said that “Heritage will remain, first and foremost, a research institute dedicated to impeccable research and data-driven policy analysis.” After all, he says, “Our policy recommendations carry weight because they are informed by that research and grounded in the principles laid out by the Founding Fathers—principles that have been proven sound time and time again during this great American Experiment.”
A primary goal he has set for the organization, DeMint said, is to help the conservative movement understand how Americans from all walks of life perceive public policy issues and how Heritage can better communicate conservative ideas and solutions.
Although Feulner has stepped down from the presidency, he will stay on at Heritage with the new title of founder. He also continues to serve as chairman of the advisory board for Heritage’s Asian Studies Center.