Born on May 20, 1945, David Keene is best known for his roles as a presidential advisor, newspaper editor and political consultant. He was also the president of the National Rifle Association from 2011 to 2013 and the chairman of the American Conservative Union. He also operated as the opinion editor of the Washington Post.
Early life and Education
Keene studied at the University of Wisconsin, where he made a name for himself as a chapter leader and eventually went on to become the national chairman of Young Americans for Freedom. He was famous for his strong stance against communism. He also opposed the strong radical ideas on both sides of the spectrum of communism and capitalism (specially the extreme effort to discourage dialogue about the same)
After his graduation from college, Keene ran for public office for the first time in 1969 at 24. He ran for the office of the state senate and even garnered the support of Richard Nixon. However, he lost to Democrat Dale McKenna with whom he vied to fill the 13th Senate seat, which was usually filled by a Republican. He later worked as a political assistant to Spiro Agnew during the Nixon Era and as an executive assistant to James Buckley in the 1970s. He coordinated, direct, work and advise on multiple presidential campaigns, including those of Ronald Reagan in 1976, George Bush in 1980 and Robert Dole in 1988 and 1996. He also endorsed Mitt Romney in 2007 and was an advisor for his second run for the presidency.
Due to his vast experience in the field Andy Barr from politico said the he had been – “counted as one of the few men with both the ear of Republican presidents and an ability to influence the grassroots.”
Having had such an illustrious career, Keene has been the recipient of a lot of recognition and awards as a token for his work in the field. He received the prestigious Martin Luther King award in New York by the Congress on Racial Equality in 2004. He was also recognized as the ‘Champion of the Constitution’ by the bi-partisan Constitution Project in Washington in 2012. He was bestowed upon with a lifetime achievement award in 2016 by the Conservative Political Action Conference. He received a second lifetime achievement award in 2016 by the Second Amendment Foundation.
Apart from being a American Conservative Union (1984-2011), Keene is also a Founding Member of Right on Crime, as conservative criminal justice reform group. He was appointed by President Bush as a public delegate on the UN small arms and light weapons conference. He co-founded the American Freedom Agenda and co-chairs the constitution project’s ‘Liberty and Security’ initiative. Due to these contributions he is best known for his advocacy on the behalf of gun rights.
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