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Jeb Bush, done with politics, thinks a Democrat who preaches civility will win nomination

June 8, 2019

Detroit Free Press

Carol Cain

Washington is a “cesspool” right now and the landscape for the 2020 presidential contest promises to be “turbulent, chaotic and will define our country going forward.”

That’s the assessment from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose 2016 run was crushed by Donald Trump.

Bush was one of the headliners at the Detroit Regional Chamber Policy Conference, where he spoke to business leaders about education reform.

Bush said Florida’s gain as a state and improving reading levels and other metrics, (which started during his time as governor, was accomplished by focusing on early learning and literacy.

His state adopted a third-grade reading law that called for reading coaches to be hired for each school. He added that too many students aren’t reaching their potential because, “we don’t have the guts to say some things are working and some things are not. In this dynamic world we are living in, the lessons of Florida suggest we need dynamic policies to reflect it.”

Gretchen Whitmer, almost six months into her job as governor of Michigan, spent her first week at the Governor’s Summer Residence on the island the week the chamber’s conference was held.

The residence was built in 1902 as a summer cottage for Chicago lawyer Lawrence Andrew Young. Later the Hugo Scherer family of Detroit owned it, and then in 1944 the Mackinac Island State Park Commission purchased the home.

The residence, which has 12 bedrooms, has been used by Michigan governors to host events with national and state leaders. During the chamber’s conference, many of Whitmer’s department heads stayed there too.

Whitmer gave me a quick tour and talked about its history. Sen. John F. Kennedy visited the residence to talk with Gov. G. Mennen Williams to seek his support as he ran for president. She also pointed to a picture on the wall of the first car to drive across the Mackinac Bridge.

Speaking of building bridges, Whitmer, who signed a bill at the conference that changes to the state’s no-fault auto insurance, to the delight of business leaders who applauded as the two parties come together, is looking to the next challenge — fixing roads and infrastructure.

“We don’t have to look like Washington,” she said “We can focus on issues, compromise and get serious about things.”

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