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 a prominent member of the Bush family: the younger brother of former President George W. Bush; the older brother of Neil Bush, Marvin Bush and Dorothy Bush Koch; and the second son of former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush.
Bush was also enrolled at Phillips Academy Andover, a private boarding school in Massachusetts, already attended by his brother, George. Bush made the honor roll in his first semester.
When Bush was 17, he went to León, Guanajuato, in Mexico, as part of his school's student exchange program. He spent his time there teaching English, and it was there that he met his future wife, Columba Garnica Gallo.
Bush attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Latin American Studies in 1973, taking only two and a half years to complete his work, and obtaining generally excellent grades. He had considered a career in Hollywood, but decided instead to pursue politics. He registered for the draft, but the Vietnam War ended before his number came up.
After his early graduation, Bush married Columba Garnica Gallo, on February 23, 1974. Their three children are George P. Bush, Noelle Bush and John Ellis Bush, Jr. Their eldest son, George Prescott Bush (born April 24, 1976 in Texas), went to Gulliver Preparatory School, studied at Rice University, and earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas. Noelle Lucila Bush (born July 26, 1977 in Texas), their daughter and second child, studied at Tallahassee Community College, graduating in 2000.
John Ellis Bush, Jr., Bush's youngest son (born December 13, 1983 in Miami), works for a Miami commercial real estate firm. In October 2007, he endorsed Rudy Giuliani for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination, and supported the effort as chairman of "Florida Young Professionals for Rudy".
On January 29, 2002, according to a police report made public via The Smoking Gun, Noelle Bush attempted to “fraudulently obtain a prescription” at a Walgreens Drug Store located in Tallahassee, Florida. The attending officers, Bob Bascom and Mark E. Dent of the Tallahassee Police Department, ascertained that Bush had telephoned the pharmacy using the name “Noelle Scidmore” in an attempt to obtain Xanax, a prescription drug used to treat anxiety disorders. As a result of her arrest, Bush was ordered by a judge to attend a rehabilitation program at the Center for Drug-Free Living in Orlando, Florida. During her time at the facility, Bush was found in contempt of court after being found in possession of two grams of cocaine, and was sentenced to 10 days in jail. Upon completion of her rehabilitation program, the governor's press office released a statement on his behalf. “Columba and I are pleased that our daughter Noelle has completed this step, and grateful for the treatment she's received ... . She has worked hard to get here. We are proud of her efforts and love her very much.” Regarding her treatment, Noelle Bush herself told the court “It's been quite a challenge, and I'm grateful.”
Business experience in Texas and abroad
Bush went to work in an entry level position in the international division of Texas Commerce Bank, a job he received through James Baker, a long time family friend and chairman of the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Bush assisted in drafting communications for the company's chairman, Ben Love.
In November 1977, he was sent to the Venezuelan capital of Caracas to open a new operation for the bank. Bush spent about two years there, working in international finance. He eventually worked for the bank's executive program.
Bush returned to the United States to work without salary on his father's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980, explaining:
"I wasn't motivated for politics, I wasn't motivated because of ideology or anything. My dad's the greatest man I've ever met or will meet; I can predict that fairly confidently. It was payback time, simple as that."
His father ultimately lost the Republican nomination for President that year, but was chosen to be Ronald Reagan's running mate. That fall, George H.W. Bush was elected Vice President of the United States, and won reelection in 1984. In 1988, the elder Bush won both the Republican Party's presidential nomination and the election, becoming the nation's 41st president. In 1992 Bush's father was defeated for re-election by then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton.
Business and lobbying experience in Miami
Following the 1980 presidential election, Bush and his family moved to Miami-Dade County, Florida. He took a job in real estate with Armando Codina, a 32-year-old Cuban immigrant and self-made American millionaire. Codina had made a fortune in a computer business, and then formed a new company, IntrAmerica Investments Inc., to pursue opportunities in real estate.
During Bush's years in Miami, he was involved in many different entrepreneurial pursuits, including working for a mobile phone company, serving on the board of a Norwegian-owned company that sold fire equipment to the Alaska oil pipeline, becoming a minority owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, buying a shoe company that sold footwear in Panama, and getting involved in a project selling water pumps in Nigeria.
Codina eventually made Bush his partner in a new development business, which quickly became one of South Florida's leading real estate development firms. As a partner, Bush received 40% of the firm's profits.
In 1990, Bush interceded with his father, the president, to pardon Orlando Bosch, a Cuban exile whom Attorney General Dick Thornburgh called an "unrepentant terrorist." Bosch was released from prison and granted residency in the U.S.
There have been several allegations of this, but Bush was never on the payroll of Cuban exile Miguel Recarey. Bush worked at locating office spaces for IMC and did so like every other licensed Realtor; commission based on final performance. Jeb was provided with a detailed list of specifications of what was wanted. This included acceptable locations, a range of size and price per square foot parameters. Jeb's search went on for several months and multiple locations that met the established criteria were actually found by Jeb. Each time, he was provided with a series of reasons why the particular site was not acceptable. In reality, Miguel Recarey was an extremely contradictory fellow, constantly changing his mind. The last property that Jeb Bush brought forth was a deal almost too good to be true: the building was in Coral Gables, right in the middle of the preferred location requested and square foot pricing was well below the going market rate. Miguel found himself in a difficult predicament and decided to pay Jeb the $75,000 commission, not for purchase of political influence as so many are fond to accuse him of, but for 2 different reasons that don't appear in the mainstream media: 1) Jeb had performed exactly as requested and he felt he had a legal liability to pay if so challenged. If so, he did not want to be embroiled in a legal fight with the son of an influential politician and be on the wrong side of the argument, 2) He felt he had a moral obligation to pay and had already run out of excuses of why the last property Jeb found would not be acceptable. Recarey, who ran International Medical Centres (IMC), employed Bush as a real estate consultant and paid him a $75,000 fee for finding the company a new location, although the move never took place. Bush did, however, lobby the Reagan/Bush administration vigorously and successfully on behalf of Recarey and IMC. "I want to be very wealthy," Jeb Bush told the Miami News when questioned during that period.
Governor of Florida
In 1998, Bush defeated the Democratic opponent Lt. Governor Buddy MacKay by over 418,000 votes (2,191,105; 55.3% to 1,773,054; 44.7%) to become Governor of Florida, after courting the state's moderate voters and Hispanics. 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. Bush is the first Republican governor of Florida to have served two full four-year terms.