JEB BUSH was born in Midland, Texas. After arriving in Florida, he helped start a real estate development company that today is one of the largest, full-service commercial real estate companies in South Florida. In 1987-1988, he served as Florida’s secretary of commerce and promoted Florida’s business climate worldwide. Following an unsuccessful bid in 1994 for the governor’s office, Bush founded the Foundation for Florida’s Future, a not-for-profit organization to influence public policy at the grassroots level. As chairman of the foundation, he cofounded the state’s first charter school – Liberty City Charter School – with the Urban League of Greater Miami.
He was elected Florida’s forty-third governor in 1998 and reelected in 2002, becoming the first Republican to be reelected governor in the state’s history. While in office, his top priority was to create a world-class educational system through high standards and increased accountability. To achieve this goal, he provided a record four-year increase of $2.9 billion (26 percent) in K-12 funding. Bush also boosted the state’s reserve funds while reducing the state’s tax burden to its lowest level in a decade. He focused the state’s resources toward protecting the state’s natural environment with an historic $2-billion commitment to saving Florida’s Everglades. He has increased health insurance coverage for needy children and provided unprecedented levels of funding and services to the elderly and the developmentally disabled.