Governor of Florida (1999–2007)
Thursday, January 31, 2019 8pm
Jeb Bush was elected the 43rd governor of the state of Florida on November 3, 1998, and was re-elected by a wide margin in 2002. His second term as governor ended in January 2007.
Bush earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and moved to Florida in 1981. With partner Armando Codina, he started a small real estate development company, which grew to become the largest, full-service commercial real estate company in South Florida.
Bush served as Florida’s secretary of commerce under Bob Martinez, Florida’s 40th governor. As secretary of commerce, he promoted Florida’s business climate worldwide. Following an unsuccessful bid for governor in 1994, Bush founded the nonprofit Foundation for Florida’s Future, which joined forces with the Urban League of Greater Miami to establish one of the state’s first charter schools. He also co-authored Profiles in Character, a book profiling 14 of Florida’s civic heroes–people making a difference without claiming a single news headline.
After his election, Bush focused on reforming education. Florida students have made the greatest gains in achievement and Florida is one of a handful of states that have narrowed the achievement gap. In addition, Bush cut taxes every year during his tenure as governor and Florida led the nation in job growth seven out of eight years. Bush put Florida on the forefront of consumer healthcare advances by signing Medicaid reform legislation “Empowered Care” in June 2006.
Before running for the Republican presidential nomination in June of 2015, Bush led his own successful consulting business, Jeb Bush and Associates, whose clients ranged from small technology start-ups to well-known Fortune 500 companies. He currently serves as the chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a national foundation focused on education reform, and was the co-chairman of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and chair of the National Constitution Center. He is the co-author of Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution (March 2013) and author of Reply All (October 2015).
Bush is the son of former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush. He lives in Miami with his wife Columba, and they have three children and four grandchildren.