Paul Weyrich passed away earlier this morning. That name may not ring a bell to our younger staff or those who have not worked in DC, but to say he was one of the giants of our movement would be a major understatement. Consider his legacy:

* Co-founder and the first president of the Heritage Foundation, which inspired the development of the state policy infrastructure – notably TPPF. * Founder, CEO, and chairman of the Free Congress Foundation, another influential think tank on economic, cultural, and international issues. * Co-founder of the Moral Majority, which got evangelical Christians off the political sidelines and connected them to our movement. * Co-founder of the Council for National Policy, a key networking and strategy development group for conservative leaders. * Founder of the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization for conservative state legislators. * Co-publisher of Conservative Digest, a compendium of conservative commentary that I read during my college years and helped me to hone my philosophy. * Founder of National Empowerment Television, a satellite TV channel that provided an outlet for conservative programming during the mid-1990s. * President of the Krieble Institute, which trained activists for democracy movements in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

I had the privilege to meet and interact with him on several occasions when I interned in DC, and volunteered in the NET studios on election night in 1994. He cared passionately about our principles, and about building and developing the infrastructure and the people to promote them.

One of my mentors and another conservative titan, Morton Blackwell, recently said that, “without Paul Weyrich, there would likely have been no conservative movement worthy of the name-and no Ronald Reagan presidency. If there were a Mount Rushmore for conservative leaders, Paul’s face would have to be on it.” I second Morton’s sentiment. We all owe Paul a debt of gratitude. Rest in peace.

– David Guenthner