The P. Q&A

February 1, 2016

He’s the newest member of the Bush dynasty to hold public office. He can get all the political advice he needs from his grandfather and uncle. His father is running for the White House right now. So how does George P. Bush live up to the family name but still chart his own course?

He is the youngest of the major statewide officeholders, but he happens to have the most famous last name in Texas politics. At 39, George P. Bush is serving his first term as the commissioner of the General Land Office, which, among other things, manages the state’s 13 million acres of public land and uses its revenue to invest in the Permanent School Fund. Despite the fact that his father, Jeb, a candidate for the Republican nomination for president, was the governor of Florida, George P.’s Texas roots are solid: he was born in Houston, attended Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, and lived in Fort Worth. It doesn’t hurt that his grandfather George H. W. Bush arrived in the state as a young man to make his fortune before becoming president, or that his uncle George W. Bush was twice elected governor of Texas before moving into the White House himself. (One thing you notice about George P. is that he is quick to laugh—and that laugh sounds an awful lot like his uncle’s.) Today, he lives in Austin with his wife, Amanda, and their two small children.

Bush’s own path to public office involves both military and private-sector experience, which seems right on script for his family. He was an officer in the United States Naval Reserve and served in Operation Enduring Freedom in an intelligence capacity, and he co-founded a real estate private-equity firm and an oil-and-gas investment firm. He used that experience to help make his case to the voters when he ran for office in 2014, and during the past year, he made headlines by ending the long-standing relationship with the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to run the Alamo and initiating a “reboot” of the GLO that included the departure of some veteran staff members and the trimming of the agency’s operating budget.

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