William “Bill” Armstrong, a prominent media executive, Colorado state legislator, three-term U.S. congressman and two-term U.S. Senator, who later became president of Colorado Christian University has passed away.
Armstrong, a confidant and advisor to President Ronald Reagan, may be best known among his many movement conservative friends for one of the few things in life he did not accomplish – becoming Ronald Reagan’s Vice President.
At the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit conservatives were fighting a multi-front battle to prevent Reagan from entering into a co-presidency with former President Gerald Ford or choosing Senate Republican leader Howard Baker as his running mate.
For many movement conservatives the leading conservative candidate for Vice President was Senator Armstrong, who had risen to prominence as a member of the House of Representatives, won a Senate seat in 1978 by beating an incumbent Democrat in a landslide, and in the process built the modern Republican Party in Colorado.
However, feeling the need to unite the GOP, Reagan ultimately chose George H.W. Bush as his running mate, and the rest – including the presidencies of George H.W Bush and George W. Bush – is history.
Bill Armstrong was known as “the gutsiest member of the Senate,” and he fought for meaningful tax reform and succeeded in getting tax indexing adopted for the first time, was a major sponsor of the Balanced Budget/Tax Limitation Amendment in the ‘80s, fought for missile defense and never surrendered on a matter of principle.
Imagine if Bill Armstrong had been Reagan’s Vice President – the 1988 election would have truly ushered in the third term of Ronald Reagan, instead of the muddled “read my lips” presidency of George H.W. Bush.
In addition to his principled conservatism Bill Armstrong was a man of deep Christian faith who later became president of Colorado Christian University and whose vision for the university’s second century included not only a drive for academic excellence, but also a bold witness for America’s founding principles in the public square.
John Andrews a longtime associate of Armstrong's in Colorado politics and at CCU remembered Senator Armstrong this way, "Bill Armstrong was America’s greatest living Christian statesman. It’s fitting that his last night on earth was Independence Day, for he lived our country’s founding principles as few others have. Bill was a giant in Colorado politics for the past half-century and became a giant in higher education in leading CCU to greatness over the past decade. He won many to the evangelical faith, the Lordship of Jesus Christ, though his winsome witness and contagious joy."