“We remember Michael Schwartz for his deep commitment to defending the weak, vulnerable and defenseless. The witness of his life inspires us to carry on his legacy of courageously speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves” said AUL’s President and CEO, Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (2/4/13) – Michael Schwartz, former chief of staff to Senator Tom Coburn, died last night after a courageous battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). His life has been one committed to issues such as abortion, judicial appointments, stem cell research, and assisted suicide among others. Known for his commitment to faith and family, Schwartz was regularly involved in teaching at his church and mentoring others.

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President and CEO of Americans United for Life, remembered Michael Schwartz in a statement this morning, “Mike was a dear friend, and I am honored to have known and worked with him. At AUL we feel his loss deeply. His contribution to the pro-life movement was significant both on the personal level and also the strategic. He worked to build coalitions and meaningful friendships that strengthened our work defending life. At the same time, he was a thinker whose analysis and strategic counsel were valued by those who knew him. Mike demonstrated a great and fierce determination to persevere until the defenseless are fully protected. And most importantly, he always worked with a ready laugh and a smile. He will be deeply missed. Our prayers are with his family.”

Senator Coburn lauded Mr. Schwartz in a recent December 2012 statement before the Senate as “One of the kindest gentlest people that anyone has ever met. He has been a light in how to do things to honor other people…Mike has also been an unapologetic defender of the family and for those who cannot defend themselves…whether that be the disability community, the unborn, the infirmed or the elderly.”

Growing up in inner-city Philadelphia, Schwartz understood from an early age many of the difficult realities facing the modern family. This realistic approach to the problems of family and society gave him a determination to honor the intrinsic value of others through sound policy. In the early 1980’s, Schwartz worked as an organizer with pro-life organization, Operation Rescue. He later worked with conservative thinker and strategist, Paul Weyrich at the Free Congress Foundation in Washington, D.C. where he served as director of the Center for Social Policy. In 1992, Schwartz launch a television initiative aimed at driving conservatives to action entitled, “National Empowerment Television.” Schwartz joined Capitol Hill staff when he became executive director of the House Family Caucus in 1995. Mr. Schwartz served for almost fifteen years as chief of staff for Senator Tom Coburn (during his time as both House member and now currently as Senator). He also served as a vice-president of Concerned Women for America from 2000-2004 in between Coburn’s tenure in the House and his Senate election.