George P. Bush hopes to be the next in the political family dynasty to hold public office, he said in an interview with Fox News Latino on Saturday.
Bush, who generally has avoided discussing his plans for his own political future, said that possibly “in the next election cycle” he’ll focus on holding public office in Texas, where he lives. Some political insiders in Texas have been raising 2014 as a year when Bush might figure prominently as a candidate.
Though he did not get specific about what office he is eying, political observers have mentioned Texas State Attorney General or Texas Land Commissioner.
Bush is the oldest son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the nephew of President George W. Bush, and the grandson of President George H. W. Bush. He is part Mexican – his mother, Columba Garnica Gallo, is a Mexican immigrant who became a naturalized U.S. citizen. He grew up in a home, he said, where Spanish as well as English was spoken – his father Jeb speaks Spanish fluently.
The 36-year-old, whose handprints from his childhood years are in the White House children’s garden, has been campaigning for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
On Saturday, he was Miami to push for Romney. He is a founding board member of the Hispanic Republicans of Texas and is a treasurer for the state GOP.
The younger Bush served in the Navy, and did a six-month tour in Afghanistan. Like his younger brother, Jeb Bush Jr., who lives in Florida, George has focused much of his attention on attracting young Hispanics to the Republican party, heading PACS that support such efforts.
FNL: What would you want Latinos to know about Mitt Romney that you think is not well known by this voting bloc?
Bush: What gets lost in the discussion about Mitt Romney is that he’s a champion for small business. Two-thirds of new jobs created since the Carter administration are created because of small businesses. It will be small businesses that fuel economic growth. Mitt Romney has had a lifetime of private sector accomplishments.
FNL: You’re from a state where Latinos have driven population growth. Some Democrats have said it may well turn into a blue state [Democrat], since most Latinos have voted Democratic traditionally. What do you say?
Bush: We’re already 40 percent Hispanic. But the percentage of registered Hispanic voters is very low – about 10 percent. I think our colleagues on the other side of aisle are getting ahead of themselves. In Texas, Republicans have a majority in the state Senate and the House. In Texas, we’re getting behind Hispanic political candidates. We have seven Latinos in the state legislature. We’re getting behind [Texas state Rep.] Raul Torres, who is running for state Senate. He is a man of faith, he’s Evangelical. He’s running against the incumbent, Juan Hinojosa.
FNL: Many Evangelicals have conservative values, a recent poll shows 39 percent Romney, though 50 percent support President Obama. Is that a source to be tapped for more Republican Latinos?
Bush: Oh yes. Evangelicals are an emerging political force in Texas. They’re very involved politically, they periodically meet with the state’s political leaders. But Catholics, too. I myself am Catholic, and many Catholics have values that are a priority for Republicans, especially as they relate to marriage and life.
FNL: What do Republicans have to do to attract Latino voters?
Bush:We Republicans have to be mindful about reaching out more to Hispanics, not only because they’re the fastest growing minority, but also because we share their conservative values on marriage and life.
FNL: The next presidential debate is this Monday. It’s focusing solely on foreign policy.Of course, many Latinos expect – and want – the Middle East, Libya and Syria, for example, to come up for discussion. But many also are wondering “What about Latin America?” Latin America, many Latinos long have complained, too often seems to be treated as an after-thought, as America’s overlooked backyard. Do you think they’re correct? Should Latin America be a part of the debate on foreign policy?
Bush: Do you mean Mexico, or Latin America?
FNL: Both. Mexico is important, but you have Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, and Raul Castro in Cuba, and there are trade, immigration and political stability concerns in the hemisphere.
Bush: There needs to be attention on Latin America, there’s been a lack of it. My uncle was very engaged, especially in Mexico, he was governor of Texas. My grandfather was the architect behind NAFTA, and that has created so much economic opportunity, not only in our country, but in Latin America. But I really hope that the debate deals with the Mexican drug cartel violence situation, particularly as a Texan, I feel strongly that it needs to be addressed.
FNL: What will Mitt Romney bring up on Monday?
Bush: He’s going to take the president to task for the Benghazi attack. And we’re witnessing one of the largest humanitarian crises in Syria, and this administration has not dealt with it [properly]. Americans in general, I think, don’t understand the weight and gravity of foreign policy and how to engage the world at large. With Chavez and Castro, we need a policy of isolation. With the recent election results in Venezuela, I find it problematic that the polling data leading right up to the day of the elections showed a much closer race than what the results were. We all know Chavez’s intentions.
FNL: You have been asked many times about your own political future, about running for office someday. I’ve seen your answers, but the typical answer people give when they’re asked that question is that they have no plans, that they’re just focused on the present. That’s the line.
Come on, it’s hard to believe it’s not in your plans. Your name is George Bush, you grew up with politics, with presidents. Come on George, tell us.
Bush:[Laughter] O.K., I am drawn to public service. I am thinking about statewide office, the next election cycle. After this election [Nov. 6] is over, I’ll entertain it. I’m intrigued by being in public office. I’m feeling the bug, the bug to jump into it. It’s in my genes, I can’t get it out.
FNL: How is your father?
Bush: He is enjoying life in the private sector. He’s enjoying being the elder statesman in the party, being the voice of reason. He will probably help the party with immigration reform, putting it back on track. He’s taking life day to day.
FNL: What do your uncle and grandfather think of today’s politics?
Bush: Well, “41” and “43” think it’s too polarized, “41” recalls the days when he could have a beer with Tip O’Neill, and they’d work on legislation.
FNL: Do you call them 41 and 43, even in family reunions?
Bush:[Laughter] No, 41 is Grampy to me and all the grandchildren.
Elizabeth Llorente can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
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