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February 15, 2013

George P. Bush tells Dallas group that Republicans can win Hispanics with focus on energy, education

  Dallas Morning News

By Gromer Jeffers

George P. Bush said Friday that conservative Republicans could compete for Hispanic voters and still remain true to their core values.

“We don’t have to sell out our principles to win the Hispanic vote,” Bush told the Institute for Policy Innovation, a group formed decades ago by former Republican Rep. Dick Army.

Bush, the nephew of former President George W. Bush and the son of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said Republicans should rebound from national losses in 2010 by focusing on issues like energy, fiscal policy and education.

He called education the most important issue facing America.

“We need to completely revamp our education system,” the former teacher said. “This is an issue that fundamentally draws me to state politics.”

Bush is considering a campaign for statewide office in 2014, presumably land commissioner.

He’s been touring the state and reaching out to various Republican groups before making a final decision about a run for office. On Saturday he’s the keynote speaker at the Rockwall County Republican Party’s Reagan Day Dinner. Next month he’s speaking to the Denton County Republican Party.

Bush said he would announce his political attentions before the end of the legislative session in May.

“We want to make sure we’re going for the right office. Our activists are excited to get started, but we want to visit with key decision makers in the party.” Bush said before his speech. “The internal timetable is sometime before the end of session.”

Though he’s expected to run for land commissioner, Bush said he hoped to stay involved in improving public education.

He said issues like whether to restore the $5 billion in money the Legislature cut from education last session would be settled after a Supreme Court decision on the state’s public school funding formula.

“We’ll see how that plays out. It looks like there will be a reinvestment of dollars,” he said.

Bush later said that advancing students through the system of social promotion should be eliminated. He wants a high school diploma in Texas to be tougher to get and more meaningful.

Meanwhile, some GOP leaders hope Bush can help lure Hispanics to the fold.

In the 2004 presidential election, George W. Bush got about 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. That number fell sharply for John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.

Bush said his uncle understood the need to engage Hispanic voters and put boots on the ground.

He added that the GOP was on the right side of most issues.

“I’m willing to bet my entire political career that our principles as conservatives are in the majority,” he said.


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