You probably did not know Thomas Fuentes. I did.
He sat on the board of Eagle Publishing, Inc., our parent company. Today comes word that the Lord has finally called him home after a long battle with cancer.
Tom Fuentes was a grand man. He was a conservative fighter. Two words for you: Orange County. In the seventies, Orange County, California was starting to drift left. Tom Fuentes stopped that drift. He made Orange County safe for conservatives. From 1984 to 2004, he served as county GOP Chairman. Unlike so many, Tom Fuentes did not build up an organization making himself the indispensable man whose work would collapse without him. A true leader, he built up Orange County so it could go on as a Republican juggernaut.
Many men in conservative politics whose organizations will collapse the moment they are gone could take lessons from what Tom Fuentes did.
He will be missed.
Over at Human Events John Gizzi notes
Fuentes is best known as the longest-serving (1984-2004) chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, California. As the GOP leader of what until very recently was considered the most populous Republican county in the U.S., Fuentes built a vigorous, well-financed party organization that consistently captured most of the legislative and U.S. House districts as well as most of the county offices. Fuentes never backed away from being a conservative voice as well as party leader. Conservative leaders in the Golden State such as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, former Rep. Christopher Cox considered him one of their closest allies as well as a friend.
Our owner, Thomas L. Phillips, asked invited his friend Mr. Fuentes onto the board of Eagle Publishing. He has a particularly good remembrance of his friend.
Thomas A. Fuentes was a sixth-generation Californian whose great-great-great grandfather emigrated from Mexico to what is now San Diego in 1834, when California was still a Mexican province.
From 1984 to 2004, Tom was Chairman of the Orange County Republican Party. In that role, he was one of the most influential party leaders both in California and the country. He grew the Orange County GOP into a bastion of Republican strength in the state. He stood firm for conservative principles and resisted attempts to water down Republican ideals.
He was a founding director of the National Conservative Campaign Fund, a political action committee I helped launch in 1999. His insight and sage political advice were invaluable in shaping NCCF into an effective source of help for bona fide conservatives running for the U.S. House and Senate.
I enjoyed getting to know Tom Fuentes and appreciated those times he gave me advice based on his experience. He'll be sorely missed and our prayers are with his family.