by Jasmine Batchelor
December 1, 2017
43rd President of the United States and Founder of the George W. Bush Presidential Center
George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, was sworn into office on January 20, 2001, and served as Commander in Chief for two consecutive terms. Before his presidency, he served for six years as Governor of the State of Texas.
President Bush was born July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut, to Barbara and George H.W. Bush – later the 41st President of the United States. In 1948, the family moved to Texas, where President Bush grew up in Midland and Houston. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University in 1968 and then served as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. President Bush received a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School in 1975. Following graduation, he moved back to Midland and began a career in the energy business. After working on his father’s successful 1988 Presidential campaign, President Bush led a group of partners that purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in 1989.
On November 8, 1994, George W. Bush was elected the 46th Governor of Texas. He became the first governor in Texas history to be elected to consecutive four-year terms when he was re-elected on November 3, 1998. In Austin, he earned a reputation for his bipartisan governing approach and his compassionate conservative philosophy, which was based on education reform, limited government, personal responsibility, strong families and local control.
As President, George W. Bush worked to expand freedom, opportunity and security at home and abroad. His first initiative as President was the No Child Left Behind Act, a bipartisan measure that raised standards in schools, insisted on accountability in return for federal dollars and led to measurable gains in achievement – especially among minority students. Faced with a recession when he took office, President Bush cut taxes for every federal income taxpayer, which helped lead to an unprecedented 52 straight months of job creation. President Bush also modernized Medicare by adding a prescription drug benefit that provided access to needed medicine for 40 million seniors and other beneficiaries.
President Bush implemented free trade agreements with more than a dozen nations; empowered America’s armies of compassion by creating USA Freedom Corps and the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives; promoted a culture of life; improved air quality and made America’s energy supply more secure; designated more ocean area habitats for environmental protection than any predecessor; transformed the military to meet the changing threats of the 21st century and nearly doubled government support for veterans; pioneered a new development strategy that tied American foreign aid to reform and good governance; launched global HIV/AIDS and malaria initiatives that have saved millions of lives; expanded the NATO alliance; forged a historic new partnership with India; and appointed Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The most significant event of President Bush’s tenure came on September 11, 2001, when terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people on American soil. President Bush responded with a comprehensive strategy to protect the American people. He led the most dramatic reorganization of the federal government since the beginning of the Cold War, reforming the intelligence community and establishing new institutions like the Department of Homeland Security. He built global coalitions to remove violent regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq that threatened America, liberating more than 50 million people from tyranny. Recognizing that freedom and hope are the best alternative to the extremist ideology of the terrorists, he provided unprecedented American support for young democracies and dissidents in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere. In the more than seven years President Bush remained in office following September 11, 2001, the United States was not attacked again.
Since leaving office, President Bush has returned to Texas, where he has focused his attention on the development of the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, which opened in May 2013. The Bush Center encompasses President Bush’s presidential library, museum and archives, as well as the George W. Bush Institute. The Bush Institute seeks to improve the human condition, and its work is based on the principles that have guided President Bush throughout his life: freedom is universal; each human life is precious; to whom much is given, much is required; and the marketplace is the best way to allocate resources. President Bush has continued to promote these values through the work of the Bush Institute in economic growth, education reform, global health, human freedom, the Military Service Initiative and the Women’s Initiative. Through events like the Warrior Open Golf Tournament, a 36- hole competition that brings together patriots who volunteered to defend our Nation in the face of danger and were severely wounded in the War on Terror and programs such as Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, an innovative partnership established to leverage public and private investments in global health to combat breast and cervical cancer in developing nations in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, President Bush continues his public service and advancing the policies he has championed throughout his life through the work of the Bush Institute.
In addition to his work with the Bush Center, President Bush published his memoir, Decision Points, a personal and candid account of the most defining decisions of his personal life and presidency in the fall of 2010. He is also the author of an intimate biography of his father, President George H.W. Bush, entitled 41: A Portrait of My Father. In the spring of 2017, President Bush will release another book entitled Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors, a vibrant collection of oil paintings and stories by President Bush honoring the sacrifice and courage of America’s military veterans. President Bush partnered with President Bill Clinton in the wake of Haiti’s devastating earthquake to lead a major fundraising effort to assist the Haitian people. President Bush also serves as the Honorary Chairman of the First Tee, an organization that provides young people with character-building and life skills lessons using golf as the platform.
President Bush is married to Laura Welch Bush, a former teacher and librarian whom he met at a friend’s backyard barbeque. They have twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, a son-in-law, Henry Hager, and two granddaughters, Mila and Poppy Louise Hager. The Bush family also includes two cats, Bob and Bernadette.