By: George Noga – January 10, 2016
I have spent the better part of entire days one-on-one with Jeb Bush and Rand Paul; this is a simple account of the time I spent with each. Let’s begin with Jeb.
In the 1990s I founded the first school choice program in Florida by raising money to pay for private school for disadvantaged kids. The program was an instant success and I asked Jeb to speak at our inaugural banquet. While conversing with Jeb at the dinner, he asked if there was anything further he could do to help. Not being one to pass up an opening of such magnitude, I averred that since we had a waiting list of over 2,500 children, he could help me raise more money to fund these kids.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Jeb committed a day of his time to help raise money. The arrangements soon were made; I was to pick up Jeb at the airport one morning and drop him where he had a speaking engagement later that afternoon. Jeb was by himself, without staff or security, and we spent the day driving from meeting to meeting with heads of foundations and corporations. Jeb was well briefed and did his best to help me raise money. He solicited my thoughts about how best to expand school choice in Florida. He always was pleasant, modest and unassuming.
Jeb later got a corporate tax credit scholarship bill through the legislature permitting businesses to obtain dollar-for-dollar tax credits for donations to qualified scholarship funding organizations such as the one I started. Fast forward to 2016; the organization I founded now raises $300 million annually to fund nearly 70,000 scholarships for children from poor families attending failing government schools.
My day with Rand Paul occurred recently. Senator Paul and his family had planned a vacation to Disney World and, being a low handicap golfer, he wanted to play a great course while here. I serve as co-chair of the Center-Right Coalition of Central Florida and am known in political circles; further, my son had once done volunteer work for the senator. To complete this circle, I happen to belong to a club with a highly regarded golf course. The arrangements soon were cemented.
Rand drove his wife and children from Kentucky to Orlando without staff or security, He arrived at my club precisely on time. We practiced, played 18 holes (sharing a golf cart) and had a two hour lunch afterward. He never once used or even looked at any electronic device. He was an accomplished golfer and shot his handicap on a difficult golf course. At lunch, where we were joined by a few others I had invited, he solicited advice from each person about what needed to be done for the good of the country and answered all questions in a straightforward manner.
Both Jeb and Rand met Teddy Roosevelt’s famous approbation of “Hale fellow, well met“. They were unerringly pleasant, modest and solicitous of others. They did exactly what they said they would. Our beloved republic would be in good hands with leaders that had the character of Jeb Bush and Rand Paul.
The next MLLG post identifies the keys to the 2016 election – look for it in about a week