Hampton Alumna Kay Coles James Named President of Heritage Foundation

Kay Coles James, a Hampton University alumna and decorated Republican activist and policy influencer was this week announced as the unanimous choice to lead the Heritage Foundation, the nation’s largest conservative think tank.


James, who supported the Trump presidential transition team and previously served as director of the Office of Personnel Management under President George W. Bush and as Virginia’s secretary of health and human resources, will be the first African American woman to head the organization in its 44-year history.

“I’m honored that the board would ask me to lead this important work. What we believe, what we develop, what we fight for — these are the policies that help people,” James said. “I look forward to expanding the conservative movement in a positive, inclusive way as we build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish.”

James, who also served on the Heritage Foundation’s board of directors, was selected from a pool of 200 applicants. She will begin her tenure on Jan. 1, 2018.

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