is the acronym
of John Ellis Bush
, the forty-third governor
of the Great State
. Unlike his brother, President George W. Bush
, Jeb is actually from Texas
: he was born there on February 11, 1953
, and graduated from the University of Texas
with a degree in Latin American Affairs
, making him a natural for his next turf
, the city of Miami
He began doing business in Florida in 1980, when he founded the Codina Group, a real estate developer in the already-crowded market of South Florida. After making enough money to qualify himself for Southern politics, he joined the cabinet of Governor Bob Martinez as Secretary of Commerce.
In 1994, Bush ran for governor against a besieged incumbent, Lawton Chiles. He lost (after Chiles reminded Floridians that "the old he-coon walks just before the light of day"), but used his downtime over the next four years to build his credibility among moderate Republicans, starting a charter school in Liberty City and writing a book called Profiles in Character that was essentially a Florida-only version of a certain book that a certain president had already written.
When Jeb made his next campaign for the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee, he won, but not by much. He defeated Lieutenant Governor Buddy MacKay* by 55 percent to 45 percent, but Buddy ended up becoming governor for a few weeks anyway when Chiles suddenly died in office. Bush moved to Tallahassee in December of 1998, and has since been re-elected over Democratic nominee Bill McBride in 2002.
He is married to Columba Bush, and has three children: Noelle Bush, Jeb Bush Jr., and George Bush.
Policy and Initiatives
Jeb's most (in)famous doing is his A+ Plan for Education. He instituted a statewide standardized test, the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test), to grade public schools. Bad Things happen to schools that display mediocre performance on the test: chronically bad schools are shut down and the kids are given school vouchers. According to Bush's minions, the A+ Plan has been successful, as schools have achieved higher test scores across the board since the implementation of the FCAT. Others, teachers' unions in particular, argue that the system is only force-feeding kids grammar and arithmetic, and forcing teachers to skimp on other content that doesn't show up on the test.
Then he implemented the "One Florida" initiative to end affirmative action in the state government, particularly in the education system. One component of this is the "Talented Twenty," which guarantees that the top twenty percent of every graduating class in Florida will receive admission to a state university. He also created a State Board of Education (on a cocktail napkin, no less) to control the public school systems and the State University System of Florida. QED.
Like the Republican Party in general, Bush gets most of his votes because he favors low taxes. He gets votes from Florida's large senior citizen population by promising to lower their prescription drug costs (this is done through a "visionary deal with Pfizer"** in which nurses help seniors develop better living habits that reduce their need for medication).
Bush also instituted a "10-20-Life" law, where the use of a firearm in a crime leads to an automatic 10 year prison sentence, and subsequent convictions lead to 20 years and life. He is a big fan of the death penalty, and even had a special amendment placed on the 2002 ballot to change "cruel and unusual punishment" to "cruel or unusual punishment" in the state's constitution. Ol' Sparky will not die as long as Jeb is around.
He is also in favor of wetlands protection, and, unlike every other Bush in history, is against oil drilling. Off the coast of Florida, that is.
I don't like Jeb, but the majority of Florida's voters who have not yet been systematically disenfranchised by a woefully inadequate voting system would disagree with me.
* Living in a state where "Jeb" runs against "Buddy" is shameful.