Kemp quarterbacked Buffalo to two consecutive AFL Championships, and was voted the league's most valuable player in 1965. He co-founded the AFL Players Association in 1964 and was elected president of the union for five terms.
His football fame helped Kemp transition to the world of politics, and he represented western New York for nine terms in Congress, leaving the House for an unsuccessful presidential bid in 1988.
After serving as President George H.W. Bush's housing secretary, Kemp was Bob Dole's running mate in the 1996 presidential election. After that loss, Kemp frequently appeared for speaking engagements, wrote a syndicated column and served as co-director of Empower America, the free market advocacy group he helped to establish.He was a tireless crusader for tax reform and supply-side policies. As a congressman, Kemp's signature legislative accomplishment was passage of the Kemp-Roth Tax Cut in the 1980s, the first of two major tax cuts enacted under President Ronald Reagan.
In his memoriam to Jack Kemp, my colleague at RedState.com, Erick Erickson, said:
Kemp did for Dole what Palin did for McCain among conservatives — excited a conservative base distrustful of the then Senate Majority Leader.There are other parallels. Like Gov. Palin, Jack Kemp was an optimist and a happy warrior. Also like her, he gave campaign staffers fits by occasionally departing from the script and speaking his mind. Gov. Palin also shares Kemp's abiding faith in God and his belief in freedom.
To conservatives, the loss of Jack Kemp is tempered only by the knowledge that there is a new generation of Reagan disciples who will carry that great president's message and preach it to all who will listen. Governors Palin, Jindal and Sanford, as well as Representatives Bachmann, Flake, Hensarling and Pence are just a few of those who were too young to have known Reagan personally, but old enough to have been influenced by Kemp, who kept Reagan's flame burning.
Please remember Jack Kemp's family in your prayers.