There's a potential new candidate for the 2016 Presidential run, and his name is Jeb Bush. That's right, the former governor of Florida and 42nd presidents’s younger brother may be aspiring to the White House. Here are 8 things you should know about him:
1. He has devoted a lot of time and money to charitable work:
Even before joining politics, Bush has worked extensively with charitable groups. Aside from volunteering at Miami's Children Hospital and the Dade County Homeless Trust, Bush has started two non-profit organizations — the Foundation for Florida's Future to connect public policy with grassroots activism and the policy thinktank Foundation for Excellence in Education — and is co-chair of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Other ventures have not gone as well: He founded the first charter school in Florida, but it went bankrupt a few years later.
2. He worked his way through politics in Florida:
Bush began his own political journey as chairman of the Dade County Republican Party, and after his successful work with several campaigns, he was promoted to Florida’s Secretary of Commerce. A few years later, Bush took a break to run his father's 1990 campaign, as well as the first Cuban-American in Congress, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. He finally ran for governor of Florida himself in 1994, but did not win the seat until his second attempt in 1998.
3. His three big policy issues are education, health policy, and the environment:
While it's impossible to tell exactly what a potential presidential platform for Bush might look like, he focused on these three policy issues during his eight years as governor of Florida. For education, Bush pushed a series of initiatives that led to a significant increase in the number of high schools reading and doing math on grade level. In health policy, Bush pushed to provide consumers with a variety of options, both public and private. He also set aside more than one million acres of the Everglades for conservation. Overall, Bush's run as governor was very popular.
4. He’s had family problems in the past:
While this may not be directly connected to politics, if Bush does run for president, all family history is fair game. And there's a lot of skeletons in these closets. For a sampling: His wife, Colomba, once tried to bring $19,000 worth of clothing and goods across the border, but only claimed $500 at customs. Once caught, she said it was because she was trying to keep the bills from her husband. His daughter, Noelle, has been arrested for forging a drug prescriptionand has undergone rehab therapy for substance abuse. He also once hired an undocumented worker for three years as caretaker for his children.
5. In recent years, he’s become good friends with Mayor Bloomberg:
Jeb's moderate approach to politics may not resonate with the new no-compromise conservatives, and his newfound friendship with Bloomberg, an outspoken critic of the Tea Party, puts him further at odds with the GOP of today. Bush not only has been seen golfing with Bloomberg on several occasions, he is also on the board of directors for the Bloomberg Family Foundation.
6. He is not afraid to speak against the Republican Party establishment:
Last year, in an interview with national reporters by Bloomberg View, Bush publicly and vocally criticized the Republican Party for moving towards “an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement." Stating that even former President Ronald Reagan would have had a hard time garnering support in the current GOP, Bush scolded the party for not taking a more comprehensive approach to immigration reform. He also praised his father's controversial tax increases in 1990, creating much controversy among conservatives.
7. He has a strong connection to Hispanic voters:
It's no secret that Republicans are scrambling to appeal to the fastest growing voter bloc, and Bush fits the bill perfectly. Majoring in Latin American affairs in college, marrying a Hispanic woman and converting to Catholicism for her, speaking fluent Spanish comfortably, living abroad in Venezuela — Bush has the entire list checked off, and it's shown in his appeal to both Republican and Democratic voters in past elections. In the words of Al Cardenas, a Miami lawyer and chairman of the American Conservative Union, "Culturally, Jeb is even more Hispanic than many in the young generation of Hispanics in America today."
8. His potential Presidential run is by no means assured:
The Republican party has tried to coax Bush to run for president for years now, and though he may be showing more signs of willingness this election cycle, he has refused to say anything officially. Even with his older brother encouraging him, both his mother and America's Bush fatigue are a hindrance. That’s not to mention that other potential candidates are strong in their own right — and they don’t have the name to hold them back.