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Texans React To The Passing Of George H.W. Bush

Politicians from all levels of government underscore the dedication the former President showed to public service throughout his life.

Politicians from all levels of government are praising the late President George H. W. Bush, who passed away in Houston on November 30, 2018, at the age of 94.

President Donald Trump said in a statement that Bush’s “essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country provided inspiration to “generations of his fellow Americans to public service.”

“With sound judgement, common sense, and unflappable leadership,” Trump added, “President Bush guided our Nation, and the world, to a peaceful and victorious conclusion of the Cold War. As President, he set the stage for the decades of prosperity that have followed.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott noted that “George H.W. Bush was an American hero and icon.”

“He was a friend to all he met, he embodied class and dignity,” Abbott added in his statement. “Texans are genuinely honored that he called the Lone Star State home and we collectively grieve this monumental loss.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner underscored that Bush “served with valor and integrity as the 41st president of the United States.” “But to Houstonians,” the mayor added, “he was one of our most esteemed and relatable neighbors.”

Turner also said that “in statesman-like fashion” Bush knew the importance of reaching across the aisle to find common ground.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett expressed his admiration for the former President: “Personally, I always considered him my model of public service.” He added that “all of us should take time to reflect and realize that a great man has left the Earth, but it is a far better place because he served us. I miss him already.”

Local Houston institutions, such as the Greater Houston Partnership and Rice University, also released statements on the impact Bush had in Houston and Texas. 

“President Bush was a quintessential Houstonian and a remarkable American: generous, hard-working, driven to lead and determined to serve a purpose greater than himself,” Rice University President David Leebron said in a statement. “The president and his wife, Barbara, were dear friends of Rice University. It was President Bush who bestowed upon the university its proudest moment on the world’s stage: hosting the G-7 Economic Summit in 1990.”

He went on to note that Bush had taught at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business in the late 1970s, and that he gave the commencement address in 2000. 

The Harris County Republican Party, where Bush began his political career as the chairman in 1963, said in a statement that “Bush left his indelible mark on Houston, the city he loved best.’ And added that “few Americans had more influence in 20th century America than George H.W. Bush.”

On Monday, Houston Matters focused on remembering Bush through several segments that included calls from listeners. Lex Frieden, a faculty member at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Baylor College of Medicine and Memorial Hermann who is also a well-known local activist on behalf of people with disabilities, underscored the former President’s involvement with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which he signed in 1990.

“He was very dependable, reliable partner all the way through the process of negotiating the bill,” said Frieden, “and getting it to to the point that he could sign it as a law.” He also noted Bush “was committed to completing the regulations needed to enforce the law and ensuring there were good enforcement mechanisms in place.”

There were also callers who shared anecdotes, like JP who narrated one in which he went into a Houston grocery store George and Barbara Bush shopped at frequently. JP saw Secret Service agents and subsequently, he recalled, “I walked one more aisle and right there President Bush, tall thin guy, he goes: ‘Hey friend, where is the aspirin?'”

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