- The Washington Times - Monday, January 6, 2003

MIAMI, Jan. 6 (UPI) — Jeb Bush will be sworn in as Florida's first two-term Republican governor Tuesday as he insists he has no intention of trying to follow his older brother into the White House.

Bush was elected to his second term Nov. 5, easily defeating Democratic challenger Bill McBride.

Since then he has been the target of repeated questions about his political plans. He has denied any presidential ambitions.

"I guess it's supposed to be flattering, but they (the questions) will subside as people see me do my job," he said "You won't see me in Manchester, N.H., and Muscatine County, Iowa. You'll see me flying to Melbourne, Hialeah and Arcadia (in Florida)."

His term is up in 2006 and term limits prevent him from running again. If his brother, President George W. Bush, wins a second term in 2004, his final term will be up in 2008.

If Jeb Bush declines a run for the presidency, his next logical step would be to run against Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., when the first-term senator runs for re-election.

But Bush's friends have told The Miami Herald he has no interest in the Senate where he would have little impact on policy. He has always said policy-making is the part of the governor's job he enjoys most.

Bush's three-day inauguration began with a barbecue in Miami, follows with the inaugural ball in Tallahassee Monday night and the inauguration ceremony at noon Tuesday.

Bush said he wants to spend the next four years improving reading, strengthening families and improving the economy.

He also faces a budget deficit for the fiscal year beginning July 1, but says he will not propose any new taxes because there is enough money in the cash reserves.

He is noncommittal, however, about taxes in the following three years.

The state faces big expenditures to finance a new constitutional amendment reducing classroom size, increasing health insurance, workers' compensation and for a mandate that the state pay a higher percentage of counties' court expenses.

Bush has sent e-mail messages to friends, seeking new ideas.

"What suggestions do you have for a governor willing to take risks and try to make a difference?" he wrote.

"My interest is in service to the citizens of Florida. I am asking your advice not to advance my political career, since I don't view my job that way. What reforms would you suggest I advance. What causes should I embrace?" the e-mail messages said.




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