A Lasting Legacy
Congressman Jim Kolbe’s legacy is one of principled, community-driven leadership, bipartisan cooperation, and purposeful public good.
Throughout his tenure as Arizona’s foremost Southern Arizona Congressman, Jim Kolbe served as a dedicated advocate for fiscal responsibility and free trade, working tirelessly to promote policies that would benefit Arizona, the American people and the global community.
Kolbe served for six years on the House Budget Committee and for 20 years on the Appropriations Committee. He chaired the Treasury, Post Office, and Related Agencies Subcommittee for four years and the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Agencies Subcommittee for six years.
His leadership on issues such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) helped to open up new markets and create opportunities for countless individuals and businesses.
Such expertise and accomplishments led to numerous accolades. Notable among them is the George Marshall Award for Distinguished Service from the US Agency for International Development and the Order of the Aztec from the president of Mexico.
Kolbe was the vice chair of the International Republican Institute and a member of the Board of Directors of Freedom House, the Institute for Science and Global Policy, the Project on Middle East Democracy, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, and the Critical Path Institute. He was also a senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund, a senior advisor at McLarty Associates, and president of JTK Consulting.
But his contributions to our country extend far beyond legislative achievements. Jim Kolbe’s commitment to bipartisanship and civility in public discourse served as a shining example for all Arizonans and Americans; and inspired a new generation of leaders to follow in his footsteps. He approached every challenge with an open-mind and a willingness to listen, always seeking common ground and striving to find solutions that would benefit everyone.
His dedication to public service and unwavering commitment to the betterment of our country leaves a timeless legacy that will inspire future generations of leaders. And perhaps most importantly, Jim Kolbe’s kindness, bright personality, sincere laugh, and exemplary character, leaves an everlasting positive impact on the communities he served.
Thanks to Congressman Jim Kolbe’s hard-work and determination, Arizona is now in prime position to lead America in the 21st century economy – but we must continue to build upon his great legacy by promoting what he stood for. Through the Jim Kolbe Fellowship for Free Enterprise, the Common Sense Institute Arizona strives to make a difference in our communities by examining crucial issues hindering economic growth and proposing policy recommendations that advance entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic prosperity.
Known as an ultimate mentor, Congressman Jim Kolbe always took it upon himself to assist new American leaders in their professional endeavors. Thus, the Jim Kolbe Fellowship for Free Enterprise follows suit, helping Arizona leaders further drive economic growth and protect economic vitality.
Inaugurated in 2023, the Jim Kolbe Free Enterprise Fellowship provides strong compensation for foremost policy experts to research key issues affecting the Arizona economy such as international trade, finance, appropriations, tech excellence, commerce, and more.
A Junior Fellow, a current college student, will be hired as well. They must be of exceptional promise, aspiring to become an unwavering community leader and dedicated public servant that relentlessly advocates for sound policies that promote economic prosperity.
To apply for the Jim Kolbe Free Enterprise Fellowship, please email us at email@example.com by 8/15