Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, and raised in Richmond’s housing projects to a single mother in the segregated South, Kay C. James was one of the first children to take part in an historic experiment to desegregate Virginia’s all-white schools.
She went on to graduate from the historically black Hampton University. She has served four U.S. presidents, dined with princes, prime ministers, and other world leaders. And she helped America chart a path for recovery from COVID-19 as chairman of the National Coronavirus Recovery Commission.
She is also president of the Heritage Foundation in Washington. Under her leadership, for three years in a row, Heritage has been named the No. 1 think tank in the world for its impact on public policy by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program.
Clearly, Mrs. James is one of the most accomplished women in America.
Here’s a telling passage from her biography: “A devout Christian, her experience growing up in poverty with a mother on welfare and an alcoholic father played a profound role in fundamentally shaping her views on the importance of family and religion, the value of education, the need for welfare reform, and the repeated failure of well-intentioned government programs, especially in America’s urban communities.”
Mrs. James also knows how to recognize a cheap use of the race card for political advantage. She spotted such a case recently when Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, said the U.S. Senate filibuster is racist. Here is how Mrs. James responded:
“Sen. Warren has resorted to the tired and extremely insulting tactic of trotting out the race card when her other arguments aren’t convincing enough for the American people. It’s absolutely absurd for Sen. Warren to declare that the Senate filibuster is now racist, especially when so many of her Senate Democratic colleagues, including Sen. Cory Booker, have long supported it.
“In fact, the filibuster is the last line of defense against the tyranny of the majority in the Senate, and its purpose is to make laws more reflective of the entire country — not just reflective of those with temporary control of the Senate. The filibuster protects us all from the most divisive and partisan legislation from becoming law.
“Democrats want to eliminate the filibuster to pass HR 1 — an unconstitutional federal takeover of our election system that would threaten to dilute the vote of every American, including women and minorities. It would allow more fraud and abuse into the election system and would encourage more illegal votes to cancel out legal ones.
“A secure and fair election system is not a threat to black voters; instead, it’s a promise to black voters and to all voters that no matter their political perspective, their votes will be counted and not canceled. HR 1 would destroy that promise — a promise that my family and so many Americans fought so hard to achieve during the Civil Rights Movement. HR 1 doesn’t protect our right to vote; it only protects the power of Democratic politicians.”
We thank Mrs. James for lending her strong voice of reason to this important national debate.