Jack Kemp is an 85-minute feature film that traces the arc of a remarkable American life. It’s the story of a young man who grew up in California, became a gridiron hero for the Championship Buffalo Bills, and enjoyed a political career that spanned Congress, the Cabinet, and campaigns for national office. Along the way, he played a central role in the Reagan Revolution and inspired countless Americans.
He was a professional quarterback for 13 years, leading the Buffalo Bills to two consecutive AFL Championships. A leader both on and off the field, he was team captain for both the Bills and the San Diego Chargers. He co-founded the the AFL Players Association, where he faced issues involving civil rights and racial equality, gaining insights that would inform his views throughout his life.
Kemp’s embrace of supply-side economics led to the passage of two signature pieces of legislation of the Reagan Presidency – the 1981 Kemp-Roth Tax Cut and the Tax Reform Act of 1986.
As HUD secretary under George H. W. Bush, he was a passionate advocate of Enterprise Zones, privatization of public housing, and for providing real opportunity for the poor.
A self-described “bleeding heart conservative,” he fully believed in the American promise and was convinced that all Americans could share in the American dream. As a former professional quarterback, he carried from the playing field to the world of politics a sense of leadership, teamwork and fair play.
It is a great personal narrative, but what makes this story truly compelling is that Kemp’s legacy is growing in importance – not fading. His ideas are more relevant today than ever. Presidential hopefuls and political leaders from both parties invoke his name - promising to revisit and expand upon his ideas.
Beyond the policies he championed, and to a greater extent than any recent politician, Jack Kemp is venerated for standing for something positive in American political life: the ability to argue strongly for a position while treating adversaries with respect, to work across the aisle, and to put country above party.
The film is thus much more than just a biography. It weaves together Kemp’s personal story with three related themes that undergird much of his public life:
• a belief in the centrality of economic growth
• a commitment to the promise of opportunity for all Americans
• the conviction that politics is fundamentally about the competition of ideas, not interests.
In short, this film – the first feature length documentary on Jack Kemp - will illuminate those character traits that made him a singular figure in American life. And it will explain the ideas that animated Kemp’s efforts while exploring their relevance to today’s world.
The film will feature extensive footage and archival first-person interviews with Kemp, as well as new, contemporary interviews and commentary by a wide range of leading Americans.
Jack Kemp will be produced by Grace Creek Media. Executive Producer is Andrew Walworth. He is joined in this effort by an experienced team of television professionals, including director John Sorensen and editor Gerald Goldman. CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow heads up the advisory editorial panel.