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Vale, David Boaz 

Sallie James

David Boaz

I won’t be the only one here with lingering PTSD from their job interview with DB. Nor will I be alone in having stories of feedback delivered pointedly from David if he found my scholarship, arguments, grammar, or rhetoric wanting. In fact, I spent the first five years of my tenure at Cato being petrified of David. But I got to know him better and have long since considered him one of my favourite people and a treasured friend.

He was exacting, to be sure, and often contrarian. He was also scrupulously fair, intellectually honest, thoughtful, principled, and (beneath the sometimes gruff exterior) a deeply caring and very funny person. I’ve spent countless hours in his office discussing current events, pop culture, funny stories from Cato’s past, and news about mutual friends. And I always learned something new about any policy issue I cared to ask about. Over the last several years, after I started to work remotely and especially in the pandemic years when visits to HQ were less regular, I called him every few weeks to discuss the latest news and to hear his opinion on matters big and small. I will treasure our conversations always, and miss them terribly.

David cared deeply about every aspect of the Institute, no matter how seemingly trivial or “beneath” his pay grade. He knew what everyone was working on, paid attention to everything produced at Cato, and devoted his life to the values and mission of freedom. His speeches never failed to inspire and motivate us all to do our best. I am sure I am not the only person at Cato who will continue to be guided by the rubric of “What would David think?”

David was the heart and soul of the Institute, and I will miss him every day. Vale, DB, and thank you for everything.

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