McALLEN – George P. Bush pitched a business-oriented message as he addressed produce growers and supporters at a fundraising luncheon at McAllen’s Valencia Event Center.
The 36-year-old nephew and grandson, respectively, of former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush spent Thursday attending that and other events around McAllen as he prepares to launch his own political career.
George P. Bush said he would announce his candidacy sometime next month for a state office, likely Texas land commissioner. Meanwhile, he has been traveling the state building support, including several trips to the Rio Grande Valley.
“In assessing the Agriculture Department and the General Land Office, there is such a huge connectivity to the region,” he said.
The soon-to-be candidate used his speech at the $100-per-plate luncheon, hosted by the Texas International Produce Association, to touch on national issues, calling for a reduction of corporate tax rates and of regulations affecting businesses.
He also addressed the impact of the drought in Texas and said state leaders needed to work on solutions to water shortages in various regions.
“Unless we look at a comprehensive solution to conservation, to figure a way to equal sacrifice, to take our neighbors south of the border to task on their responsibilities, to service the ag community here in the Valley, we won’t be able to (solve it),” he said.
“We need to look more realistically and include South Texas in this discussion.”
George P. Bush has his career experience as an attorney, real estate developer and U.S. Navy Reserve officer. The son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Mexican-born Columba Bush, he founded the Hispanic Republicans of Texas and has been widely considered a top up-and-comer in the party.
Pharr City Commissioner Jimmy Garza, who helped organize the event, said he hoped to continue bringing the younger Bush to the region.
“He fits my generation, my mold, my way of thinking, and I want to make sure the Valley gets to know him,” he said. “The Valley needs to get over the phobia of what a typical Republican is.”
Association President Bret Erickson said he was pleased with the event and called it a good platform to talk about issues relevant to the growers.
“Since he hasn’t said what he’s going to run for yet, he’s got to be cautious about getting too deep in the woods on anything yet, but I was really pleased to hear him touch on the water issue,” he said. “I think he can be real ally to us in the future.”
Later in the day, Bush toured South Texas College and met with more supporters for a dinner.
Elizabeth Findell covers PSJA and the Mid-Valley. She can be reached at email@example.com, (956) 683-4428 or on Twitter, @efindell.