Trailing in second place in the Republican presidential nomination polls, Jeb Bush, brought his 2016 campaign rally to the state capital Monday, where he governed for eight years.
Bush, Florida’s former governor from 1998 to 2006, returned to Tallahassee with a larger goal in mind, the presidential candidacy.
Supporters gathered at the Augustus B. Turnbull Conference Center to hear the candidate elaborate on some of his key points. Florida State University's president John Thrasher and other state officials were among the crowd.
In his 30-minute address, Bush spoke on his days as governor in Florida and how the changes he made to a city that was once known, as “Mount Tallahassee” could be the changes he would make in Washington.
“We used to call this city ‘Mount Tallahassee’ because it was so remote from the people, so caught up in the settled ways of a comfortable establishment. I was a governor who refused to go along with that establishment,” Bush said.
Standing in front of a sign that read “DC Reform,” Bush proposed a bill that some people would agree takes a stab at some of his rivals. His bill would pay members of Congress only on the days they show up to work.
In his stint as Florida’s governor, Bush managed to abolish the Department of Labor, and, by shifting state jobs to private contractors, he reduced the state workforce by 13,000.
As he reminisced on his days as governor, the presidential candidate made good humor of the nickname “Veto Corleone” given to him by some Florida representatives.
“I vetoed more than 2,500 spending items. Producing $2 billion in savings, I’m glad somebody was keeping count.”
In his address Bush proposals included: Enforcing rules between lobbying and lawmakers by imposing a six-year ban on Congress, shrinking the government payroll by freezing hiring and then hire one worker for every three that retire, and launching a campaign asking states to establish a balanced budget amendment.
Bush made it clear that he did not like the way Washington treated our nation’s veterans.
“Veterans died while waiting for care at the VA hospital last year,” Bush said.
The conference room of supporters applauded with agreeance when Bush proposed to “finding a replacement for Obamacare.”
Ana Gomez, a second-year political science student, was one of the few FSU students in the crowd. Gomez said she attended the rally to hear his point of view and where he stands as a republican presidential candidate.
“It was interesting to hear his side, especially on topics like lobbying. His campaign he says is for everyday people but as you can see these aren’t everyday people.”
Other students used the speech to better judge the ever-growing Republican field.
“It gave me a clearer view of who I wanted out of all of the presidential candidates. It did narrow it down” said FSU freshman, political science student, Edgar Barrios.
Bush ended his address by assuring that the leadership that he demonstrated in Florida would be the leadership and reform that he would bring to Washington.