Jeb Bush bigraphy, stories - Governor of Florida

Jeb Bush : biography

February 11, 1953 -

John Ellis "Jeb" Bush (born February 11, 1953) is an American politician who served as the 43rd Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. He is the second son of former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush; the younger brother of former President George W. Bush; and the older brother of Neil Bush, Marvin Bush, and Dorothy Bush Koch. Bush is the first and only Republican to serve two full four year terms as Governor of Florida.

Bush grew up in Houston, Texas. He attended the University of Texas, where he earned a degree in Latin American affairs. Following his father's successful run for Vice President in 1980, he moved to Florida. In 1986, Bush was named Florida's Secretary of Commerce, a position he held until resigning in 1988 to help his father's successful campaign for the Presidency.

In 1994, Bush made his first run for office, narrowly losing the election for governor by less than two percentage points to the incumbent Lawton Chiles. Bush ran again in 1998 and beat Lieutenant Governor Buddy MacKay with 55 percent of the vote. He ran for reelection in 2002, and won with 56 percent, to become Florida's first two term Republican Governor. During his eight years as governor, Bush was credited with initiating improvements in the economy, environment, and health care, as well as reforming the education system.

Governor of Florida (1999-2007)

1998 gubernatorial election

In 1998, Bush defeated his Democratic opponent, Lieutenant Governor Buddy MacKay, by over 418,000 votes (2,191,105; 55.3% to 1,773,054; 44.7%) to become Governor of Florida. He portrayed himself as a "consensus-building pragmatist" and courted the state's moderate and Hispanic voters. Simultaneously, his brother, George W. Bush won a re-election victory for a second term as Governor of Texas, and the Bush brothers became the first siblings to govern two states at the same time since Nelson and Winthrop Rockefeller governed New York and Arkansas from 1967 to 1971.

In the 1998 election, Bush garnered 61 percent of the Hispanic vote and 14 percent of the African American vote, a surprising showing for a Republican seeking statewide office. Four years earlier, he got 5 percent of the African American vote in a polarizing election against the popular Democratic incumbent Chiles, who was re-elected.

Chiles' sudden death on 12 December 1998 meant that MacKay was sworn-in as his successor. He held the position of Governor for 23 days until Bush was sworn-in to replace the man he had beaten.

Education

Bush's administration was marked by a focus on public education reform. His "A+ Plan" placed a greater emphasis on standardized testing in Florida's public schools, eliminated social promotion for third grade students who scored the lowest achievement level on the state reading assessment, and established a system of funding public schools based on a statewide grading system using the FCAT test, an assessment created under his predecessor, Governor Lawton Chiles. Bush has been a proponent of school vouchers and charter schools, especially in areas of the state with failing public schools, although to date very few schools have received failing grades from the state. One program that has seen fruition is the Florida Virtual School, a distance-learning program that allows students in rural areas of the state to take Advanced Placement classes for college credit. However, his policies have also been driven by a firm refusal to raise taxes for education, which led Bush to oppose a ballot initiative to amend the Florida Constitution to cap growing school class sizes. Bush said he had "a couple of devious plans if this thing passes". Despite his opposition, the amendment passed; Bush's subsequent suggestions that the amendment be repealed have contributed to criticisms that he has failed to implement it in good faith. A similar concern about new expenditures has led to controversy over whether Florida has provided adequate resources to implement a subsequent voter-approved state constitutional amendment that requires a universal state-financed pre-Kindergarten program.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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