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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Jeb Bush Talks Education, Immigration Reform During Opening Conference Keynote

In addressing an issue that often trascends traditional partisan divides, Governor Jeb Bush suggested the American education system is the biggest challenge the country and its workforce face. Bush, president of Jeb Bush and Associates and former Governor of Florida (1999-2007), also highlighted some of the lessons to be learned from Detroit’s revitalization during the first keynote address of the 2013 Conference following and introduction by Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah.

Gov. Bush talked about the American dream, the opportunities for success and what he calls “the right to rise.” He went on to say that those opportunities and that ability to rise is dependent on access to a quality education, and said the U.S. is not rising to the challenge. He said America is failing to confront one of the greatest social issues of our time.

“We can’t accept failure for a wide swath of kids under the guise of compassion,” Gov. Bush said. “…Education done right is the only government program I’m aware of that is a cure for poverty.”

Gov. Bush stressed the importance of educational standards, teacher compensation and the disservice of advancing students based on social rather than academic motivations. He said one of the country’s greatest mistakes is its underestimation of the capacity of its children to learn and by doing so, rob them of their right to rise.

Gov. Bush also discussed the importance of narrowing family-based immigration law and highlighted the vital role immigrants play in the U.S. economy. He went on to say that much of Michigan’s success is due to quality leadership and indicated that Detroit will succeed as Michigan has by applying the same strategies the Governor has put in place.

Following his remarks, Bush was joined on stage by Daniel Howes, business columnist and associate business editor for The Detroit News, for a question-and-answer session. This session was sponsored by Meijer.

Governor Jeb Bush to Deliver Opening Keynote Address at 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference

DETROIT, February 8, 2013 Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber announced that Jeb Bush, governor of Florida from 1999-2007, will provide the opening keynote address at the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference. Held Wednesday, May 29 through Friday, May 31, the Conference will spur a comprehensive dialogue on cultural change, education and the 21st century global market.

“As one of the nation’s most prominent thought-leaders, Governor Bush can provide critical insight into Michigan’s ongoing transformation,” said Chairman, President and CEO of ITC Holdings Corp. Joseph L. Welch, chair of the 2013 Conference. “Governor Bush is leading the way on education reform, immigration reform and economic growth and will bring candid discussion on some of the nation’s most pressing issues to the Mackinac Policy Conference stage.”

The 2013 Conference will kick off at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 29 with opening remarks by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Governor Bush will subsequently provide the first Conference keynote address focusing on education reform, the current political landscape and a national perspective on key economic issues.

Son of President George H.W. Bush and brother of President George W. Bush, Governor Bush is considered a leading national voice on the major issues facing the nation. Governor Bush was the 43rd governor of Florida, serving from 1999 through 2007 – the only Republican in the state’s history to be re-elected. Currently president of Jeb Bush and Associates, LLC, and chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Governor Bush is the co-author of a book titled Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution scheduled for release later this spring.

“As one of the nation’s most innovative political figures, Governor Bush can speak to the political and cultural changes needed to strengthen the United States’ leadership in the globalized world,” said Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah. “Having served under both President George H.W. and George W. Bush, I have had the pleasure of watching Governor Bush lead Florida as a transformative figure, focused on the values we celebrate at the Mackinac Policy Conference; progress, inclusion and results.”

The 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference’s pillars are culture, education and the 21st century global market. To learn more about how the Conference aims to create a more business-friendly climate in Michigan and drive economic growth, visit

Detroit Regional Chamber 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference
The Mackinac Policy Conference – the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual event – brings together business and government to re-energize Michigan. Since 1981, the Conference has provided access to Michigan’s top business professionals, legislative leaders, corporate CEOs, entrepreneurs and veteran regional champions. Approximately 1,500 attendees will gather for the 2013 Conference, held May 29 – May 31 at the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission is carried out through business attraction efforts, advocacy, strategic partnerships and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit

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