As an economic conservative, Kemp advocated low taxes and supply-side policies. His positions spanned the social spectrum, ranging from his conservative opposition to abortion to his more libertarian stances advocating immigration reform. As a proponent of both Chicago school and supply-side economics, he is notable as the molder of the Reagan agenda and the architect of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which is known as the Kemp–Roth tax cut.
Before politics, Kemp was a professional quarterback for 13 years in the National Football League (NFL), Canadian Football League (CFL), and American Football League (AFL). He served as captain of both the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills and earned the AFL Most Valuable Player award in 1965 after leading the Bills to a second consecutive championship. He played in the AFL for all 10 years of its existence, appeared in its All-Star game seven times, played in its championship game five times, and set many of the league's career passing records. Kemp also co-founded the AFL Players Association, for which he served five terms as president. During the early part of his football career, he served in the United States Army Reserve.
After his days in political office, Kemp remained active as a political advocate and commentator, and served on corporate and non-profit organization boards. He also authored, co-authored, and edited several books. He promoted American football and advocated for retired professional football players. Kemp was the benefactor of Pepperdine University's Jack F. Kemp Institute of Political Economy. In January 2009, he was diagnosed with cancer, and succumbed on May 2, 2009 at his home in Bethesda, Maryland.
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