Jeb Bush throws his hat in the presidential ring, here's what you need to know
Even if you don’t follow politics or keep track of presidential hopefuls, you have probably heard of Jeb Bush. At the very least, you’ve heard of the Bush family, arguably the closest thing we have to an American political dynasty. The family, dynasty or not, has produced an impressive two presidents: George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, and hopes to offer a third next year.
Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida, has his sights set on his place in this presidential lineage and officially announced his run for president this week. His bid for president is the latest in a slew of Republican candidates to throw their hats in the ring, including Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, and Marco Rubio. There are a ton more, but these are just the front-runners.
With so many names being tossed around, it’s hard to keep track of who is who, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Here’s a little cheat sheet to help you sort out what you need to know about Jeb Bush:
A few tidbits:
His real name isn’t Jeb. Jeb is actually an acronym for John Ellis Bush, which is a combination of names from two uncles and his mother, Barbara. His son is also called Jeb, but, you guessed it, that’s not really his name either. It’s John Ellis Bush, Jr.
Jeb is married to his high school sweetheart, who is originally from Mexico. He met Columba while working in an exchange program in León, Mexico, on summer break. They now have three children, all full-grown adults now, that have a mixed U.S.-Mexican heritage. The two also lived in Venezuela while Jeb worked for a branch of a Texas bank, and he speaks fluent Spanish. According to NPR, “he has often appeared in campaign ads throughout his political career speaking the language.”
Bush was governor of Florida during the controversial 2000 presidential election that pitted his brother George against Al Gore. The election essentially came down to the votes cast in Florida and there was a contentious battle over the counting of the votes — there were no less than three recounts, and the election came down to a Supreme Court decision in December of that year — it was tense. Jeb was heavily involved in the decision process and campaign, and Bush felt like he had disappointed his family. Time magazine reported, “With tears in his eyes, Jeb apologized to his brother for letting him down.”
He’s apparently a pretty big Die Hard fan. In a tongue-in-cheek prank, a synopsis of the action-thriller franchise appeared embedded in the coding for his website. The New York Times reports, “Besides spoiling the Die Hard movies for people who haven’t seen them, the inclusion of the scripting files — something of a joke among the campaign’s programmers — does nothing to compromise the function of Mr. Bush’s website.”
Here’s a little more about what Jeb’s positions are on some of this country’s hottest political topics:
Education: Jeb’s been a vocal supporter of the widely unpopular Common Core education standards. This is a pretty controversial stance to take from a candidate who self-identifies as a conservative Republican, because according to Politico, “The standards have become synonymous with federal overreach, overtesting and confusing math problems.”
Immigration: He is also a proponent of immigration reform, and The New York Times quoted him saying that he believes people who are here illegally should be able to earn their legal status. He said in February, “You pay your fines, you get provisional work permits, where you come out of the shadows, you pay taxes, you pay fines, you don’t receive government assistance, you learn English, you don’t commit crimes.”
Healthcare: Jeb’s position is a little murky here. He’s not FOR Obamacare (also known as The Affordable Healthcare Act), but he’s not necessarily against it either. Politico says that the Governor, “wants to repeal the law, but he also has talked frequently about the need for Republicans to have a replacement plan that reflects its own health care priorities.” This makes him a lightning rod for criticism from both the left and the right, but Bush hopes to take this line of thinking into the GOP mainstream.
Marriage: Although Gov. Bush has had a spotty past when it come to LGBT rights, he’s since softened on the idea of same-sex unions, although he remains loyal to the concept of a “traditional marriage. “I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue,” he said in January, “including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.”
Environment: Unlike some of his contemporaries, Governor Bush acknowledges climate change at the hands of humans and has even expressed a need to reduce our carbon emissions. Although he’s expressed interest in addressing environmental concerns, Bush also said he was more concerned with protecting the economy.
Now remember: Stay informed, stick to your convictions, and vote.