America has lost a great patriot. The conservative movement has lost a noble and steadfast champion. I have lost a dear friend and business colleague.
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.
It was my privilege to know and be associated with Tom for more than 20 years. In 1995, he joined the Board of Directors of Eagle Publishing and served wisely and faithfully. As a valued trustee of The Phillips Foundation, Tom inspired the launch of our Ronald Reagan College Leaders Scholarship Program in 1999.
Always a friend and mentor to young people, Tom envisioned this program as a means to assist young conservative activists on America’s campuses. I’m proud to say that the program has helped more than 500 students and provided $2.5 million in aid to the rising stars of the conservative movement.
Tom was a graduate of Santa Ana College and Chapman University. He was a Trustee of Pacific State University, Chairman of the Board of Whittier Law School, a Senior Fellow and Director of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy, and served three terms as an elected Trustee of the South Orange County Community College District.
In 2006, House Speaker Dennis Hastert appointed him to the Board of Advisors of the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, to which he was reappointed by Speaker John Boehner. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation.
Tom leaves behind his beloved wife, Jolene, and their three children. His untimely passing is a great loss for America, the conservative cause, and for me personally.
To Tom Fuentes, A Simple Man — a tribute from Kathy Tavoularis, who served as the executive director for the California Republican Party from 1993-2005 and worked directly for Fuentes.
Thomas A. Fuentes ‘In His Own Words’ — He encouraged an audience in September to “foster the noble and wholesome ideals of our conservative cause. Be not afraid, my friends.”
Tom Fuentes: A Life in Pictures