There was one contender in the Republican presidential debate last week that stood out above all others. He was outspoken on just about every issue that faced the voters.
He was firm in his faith that federal government’s main job is to protect the lives and freedoms of its people. He opposed the largesse of government that interfered with the ability of its citizens to lead their own lives. He had a definite plan, called 9-9-9 that could eliminate our tax inequities.
And he spoke with a firm voice that befits a President.
He was Herman Cain, the only black candidate in the group. And he beat all others in a straw poll taken in Florida the next day.
He grew up in a modest brick house in Atlanta. He graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in mathematics in 1967 and continued his education by earning a Master’s degree in computer science from Purdue University while working full-time developing fire control systems for ships and fighter planes for the Department of the Navy. He then returned to Atlanta to begin working as a computer systems analyst for the Coca-Cola Company. After considerable success at Coca-Cola, he moved to the Pillsbury Company. Within a short period of time, Cain rose to the position of vice president.
Cain later became the regional vice president of Pillsbury’s Burger King division which meant starting from the “ground up,” dodging grease fires and broiling hamburgers. He was assigned to lead a low performing region of 450 of their restaurants. Within three years, it became the best performing region in the company.
With that success, he soon took on the biggest challenge of his career. He accepted the call to become the President and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, a company that was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. In just 14 months, Cain returned Godfather’s to profitability and he led his management team to a buyout of the company.
His professional successes garnered the respect and admiration of industry peers who named him president of the National Restaurant Association. This led to his acceptance of a position on the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and he was subsequently elected their chairman. In this role, he analyzed economic conditions in the region and notified the Federal Reserve of how their policies should respond.
Most recently, he hosted a radio talk show, “The Herman Cain Show,” in Atlanta. He serves as a regular contributor on several broadcast networks and as a keynote speaker at conferences and events around the nation.
Obviously, he has had very diverse experience in the business world. One thing he has not had is experience as a politician. But hearing him talk at the debate indicated that he knows what government should be all about and is anxious to get into it as he did in other fields.
If he catches on, we could have two black candidates in the general election for president next year. And it appears that one of them would make a very good president.