2016 Presidential Candidate Profile: Jeb Bush

With the 2016 election around the corner, voters are beginning to pay more attention to the candidates who will most affect their demographic. As the race progresses, each presidential hopeful’s position on the major issues have become clear. Among the ever-clearer personae is Jeb Bush.

The former governor of Florida, Bush entered the race June 15 and has received mediocre ratings for his refusal to participate in the media circus propagated by Donald Trump, among other reasons. According to Real Clear Politics, Bush is in fifth place, behind Rubio and Cruz.

Among his skeptics are many Florida students who are now of voting age. Bush was responsible, in his time as governor, for supporting the FCAT system that has received much criticism.

However, his legacy was not all bad. During his eight years in office, Florida saw an increase in jobs (1.3 million) and decrease in unemployment, which was at 3.4 percent when he left office, according to newsmax.com.

As a presidential hopeful, he has had to weigh in on various issues that will, directly or indirectly, affect students.

While the Democratic candidates have been more vocal about college affordability, Bush has historically voiced opinions on the topic.

According to The Hill, Bush was in support of a plan to allow students to attend two years of community college for free. Such a plan, Tennessee Promise, is already in place in Tennessee and acts as a scholarship and mentoring program for students.

“We thought why not just build on what works? So we’re going to call it ‘America’s College Promise,’” he said.

However, some have criticized Bush’s plan, as it is very similar to a proposal by President Barack Obama in January that the former governor then opposed.

But Bush is not a newcomer to the education platform. He was very active in championing educational reform and emphatically backed the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Bush has also broken from traditional GOP orthodoxy. According to CNN, Bush is in favor of immigration reform that would allow for “earned citizenship.” 

An article in the New Yorker stated Bush doesn’t mind distancing himself from even his brother’s policy, as he hopes to be his “own man.”

Regarding medical marijuana, Bush is quite in line with Republican thinking. Last year, he stood opposed to Florida Amendment 2, the proposal that would legalize medicinal pot usage and was overwhelmingly supported.

According to CNN, Bush felt “‘allowing large-scale marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter’ to the state’s efforts to boost tourism and a business-friendly environment.”

However, he has often been criticized for hypocrisy since revealing his recreational marijuana usage in high school.

Regarding minimum wage, a topic that has prompted protests across the country and on USF’s own campus, Bush is in favor of statewide minimum wages. However, he is opposed to a federal minimum wage, which he stated would not serve its supposed purpose of decreasing the income gap.

“The federal government doing this will make it harder and harder for the first rung of the ladder to be reached, particularly by young people,” he said in an article on Bustle.com.

The remainder of Bush’s policies and views can be found on his website, jeb2016.com, and will be revealed at the next GOP debate Dec. 15 on CNN.