I have a certain fondness for New Hampshire. My name is emblazoned on many sites here: schools, a college, roads, highways, places of business, and many more. Many people have asked me through the years whether I am related to the original Daniel Webster. My grandmother assured me that I was a distant relative.
After spending many years in the minority in the state legislature, Republicans won the majority of the House in 1996, and I was elected the Speaker of the House the first Republican to occupy the chair in 122 years.
Two years later, Floridians roundly elected Jeb Bush as their governor. I served with Jeb, and he was a great leader of our state.
As governor, Jeb had ambitious goals for our state. Our state had been dominated by one party control for so long that rank waste was pervasive in our system. Much like Washington, Tallahassee worked to protect bureaucracy and power while ruling over the great people of our state instead of serving them. Jeb immediately set to work fixing the problems.
Governor Bush worked to reduce Floridians’ taxes by nearly $20 billion. He repealed a particularly bad policy that allowed the state to tax seniors and savers on their lifesavings.
While Jeb worked to cut taxes, he also reduced the size of our government. He required each state agency to come up with a simple, concise mission statement. Any program that the agency administered that did not fit directly with that statement was removed. He also vetoed billions of dollars in waste and balanced the budget every year.
Governor Bush realized that our state education system was not serving our students and families. He implemented reforms that rewarded teachers and schools that ensured their students were receiving a high quality education. Jeb developed our public university system into a true system of universities and colleges that conducted worldclass research and worked strategically with each other to maximize the opportunities of our college students.
While there are many aspects to Governor Bush’s service in Florida that can speak to the type of leader that he is, the best example of his ability to lead occurred in 2004. While hurricanes are a rare occurrence in New Hampshire, Floridians are well acquainted with them. However, that year, in a period of just over a month, we were ravaged by four major hurricanes. Jeb was on the ground in emergency operations centers directing state efforts and coordinating with the federal government. He deployed the National Guard and led them as they provided many social services in our communities. His leadership held together when our state was rocked by this series of natural disasters.
Having served with Governor Bush, I am confident in his abilities to lead our nation. His service as governor is a testament to his character and his leadership qualities.
Our party is a great party with a great set of potential nominees. I am supporting Jeb Bush because of what I have witnessed as he led our state.
America faces serious challenges. We need a president with the leadership skills who is ready on day one. That’s why I’m proud to support Jeb Bush. I know he’ll be the type of leader that will keep America safer, stronger and freer.