This expert is no longer a staff member at The Heritage Foundation.
Becky Norton Dunlop, a prominent leader, strategist, and counselor in the conservative movement, was The Heritage Foundation’s Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow.
Dunlop, who joined the leading think tank in 1998, held the only policy chair in the country to be officially named for the 40th president. She succeeded Ed Meese, the U.S. attorney general under Reagan, who assumed emeritus status.
Dunlop oversaw special projects, traveled as an ambassador for Heritage, and worked tirelessly to assure that the legacy of principles, policies, and practices represented by the life and service of Ronald Reagan remain in the hearts and minds of Americans.
Previously, Dunlop was Heritage’s vice president for external relations from 1998 until May 2016. She served on the Trump Transition team.
Dunlop was a senior official in the Reagan administration from 1981-1989 inside the White House, at the Justice Department, and at the Interior Department.
She served from 1994-1998 as Secretary of Natural Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia in the Cabinet of then-Virginia Gov. George Allen.
As political director for the American Conservative Union from 1973- 1977, she was instrumental in organizing grass-roots activists for Reagan’s unsuccessful 1976 race for the Republican nomination and advised his successful 1980 nomination and general election campaigns.
From Reagan’s first inauguration in 1981 to 1985, her White House posts included Deputy Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel and Special Assistant to the President and Director of his Cabinet office. During Reagan’s second term, Dunlop served as senior special assistant to Meese, then attorney general, in charge of managing Cabinet-level domestic policy issues. She oversaw major policy reports on the environment, the family, federalism, tort reform, privatization, and welfare reform.
She completed her service in the Reagan administration as deputy undersecretary of the Interior Department and as assistant interior secretary for fish, wildlife, and parks.
Dunlop is one of the few of the insiders from the beginnings of the Reagan era who remain active in public policy leadership.
As Virginia’s natural resources chief, Dunlop worked to streamline, decentralize, and down-size agencies while protecting and improving the environment. She is one of the few “free-market environmentalists” to have headed a state agency and put ideas into action. Her book, “Clearing the Air” (Alexis de Tocqueville Institute, 2000), chronicles some of her experiences in advancing those principles.
In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed her to a part-time post as chairwoman of the Federal Service Impasses Panel. The seven-member panel resolves disputes between federal agencies management and labor unions. Under her leadership, it took on several hundred cases and eliminated backlogs.
Other current leadership roles include the boards of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors, the Reagan Alumni Association, the Association for American Educators and the AAE Foundation, the Council for National Policy and the American Conservative Union.
In addition to topics addressing conservative principles and their roots in the nation’s founding, Dunlop is a sought-after public speaker on the idea that personnel is policy; on energy, natural resources and the environment (including free market environmentalism); on federalism as a former member of a governor’s Cabinet; Capitalism and the Rule of Law, and on the Reagan administration (including the 40th president’s effective leadership style).
A graduate of Miami University in Ohio, she currently resides in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband, George S. Dunlop. The Dunlops are members of Oakland Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia.