Herman Cain was one of the finest men I have ever known. If anyone has ever wondered what Herman Cain was like, I could sum it up in three words: the real deal. He was honest, authentic, and loyal. He was deeply committed to Jesus Christ, his family, and his country— in that order, and everything he did revolved around those priorities.
Our shared faith and love of country brought an instant bond, and from our first meeting I knew this man was going to have an incredible impact on my life, and I would potentially have an impact on his, although I had no idea at that time just how true those words would become.
I met him a few years before he ran for president through my involvement in grassroots politics. We spoke at various political events together and he became an adviser and contributing author to a program I developed called Prosperity 101™, which I created to help employers educate employees about the public policy issues that affect their jobs.
He believed in my vision and supported my efforts wholeheartedly.
We did workshops and speaking engagements together and it was during those times of meeting with people around the country that I could see our nation was crying out for the leadership of Herman Cain.
Our mutual friend and colleague, Mark Block, had also worked with Mr. Cain over several years and he believed, as I did, that America wanted a business leader in the White House. Block and I put together a strategy and took it to Cain, encouraging him to run for president and assuring him that we could take him to number one in the polls.
Of course, he said we were "crazy," but he had that signature twinkle in his eyes and that enormous grin, and I knew he was intrigued.
I told him that 'Yes," we were "crazy," but I promised we could take him to number one!
To this day, I feel so blessed to be one of two people who recruited him to run for president and then to serve as the executive vice president and deputy chief of staff for his presidential campaign, a role that not many women in America had done at that time.
He did not care that I was a woman. He trusted my work.
Herman Cain was a man who sought results, and to work so closely with him taught me more than I could have ever learned in a classroom or from any other candidate.
We strategized together, laughed together, and prayed together. Some of my favorite memories involved flying with just him and Block during the campaign.
We had great strategy sessions at 35,000 feet!
His presidential campaign announcement rally, held on May 21, 2011, was at that time, the largest political rally in the history of our country. Much of the media ignored it, yet as over 15,000 people traveled from all over our country to support this non-politician businessman who was running for president, we knew we were experiencing history in the making.
The atmosphere was electric. I still get chills when I think of it.
While establishment politicians and many media pundits ridiculed us, we diligently kept building a grassroots army that became a movement. Many people had no idea how organized we were at the grassroots level, despite no paid advertising and a limited budget.
Our signature "9-9-9" tax plan became wildly popular, and a greeting to supporters from Chief of Staff Block, that included the famous puff on a cigarette, became a viral sensation. Poll numbers soared.
As he rose in the polls, the unfounded, vicious attacks began.
While there was no proof, it damaged the campaign.
As a businessman, he knew the odds were not in our favor. He wanted to make sure everyone on the team could be paid through the end of year, so he made a business decision to end the campaign while there was still money to do so.
Additionally, he wanted to protect his precious wife, Gloria, and their family from additional stress. Being part of the conversations that led to that decision and seeing the love and tender relationship that he and Gloria exhibited during the crisis only caused my respect for him to grow.
We have worked together on many things since then. In fact, I am blessed to have interviewed him for my "Prosperity 101™" podcast just days before he became ill.
The episode was published the day he went into the hospital. I hope he was able to hear it.
Mr. Cain (as I have always affectionately called him) was a voice for all that is good and right, and his voice will be missed but never forgotten. I am in shock and fighting tears at the loss of my dear, dear friend and mentor.
My heart aches with his family and I ask everyone to keep them in their prayers as they grieve. I thank God for Herman Cain and am thankful for the times we worked together to promote freedom and liberty in our great country.
If you want to honor his memory, please get in the fight for our country. He would want us all to turn to God for wisdom and to do all we can to keep our country free.
We must let his life be an example and be as fearless as he was. May we honor his legacy.
Linda J. Hansen is the Former Deputy Chief of Staff to Herman Cain, Political Strategist, Podcast Host and Founder & President of Prosperity 101, LLC
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