The Next Bush in Line
Split opinions on George P. Bush as “Latino Leader”
By Michael King,
12:56PM, Mon. Mar. 30, 2015
If you have an opinion on General Land Office Commissioner George Prescott Bush – in particular his status as a leader of Latino-Americans – today is your day to express it. He’s being honored by UT-Austin for his “public service and exemplary leadership” – and opposed by Chicano and Latino civil rights activists for his conservative politics.
The specific occasion is an invitation only reception honoring Bush at the Main Building at 6pm, where UT-Austin President Bill Powers will present to Bush (son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush and nephew of former president George W. Bush) the university’s inaugural “Latino Leadership Award.” Bush is the first Latino to be elected GLO Commissioner, where he administers veterans’ benefits, state oil and gas interests, and state historical archives. The Latino Leadership award was established by the Center for Mexican American Studies and the Department of Mexican American and Latina and Latino Studies to recognize the success of Latinos at the state, national, and international levels.
Prior to the award ceremony – and beginning at 4:30pm outside the Student Union, and from 5:30-7pm on the south steps of the Main Building, student activists will be holding a teach-in to protest the award to Bush. Activists say they believe the award “forsakes the vision and mission of the founders of the Center for Mexican-American Studies, and of faculty and staff.” In a press release, they announced, “We love our Latino faculty, and we want to protect their valuable work, so as a community we take on this responsibility to inform students on civil rights, and that an enemy of the freedom we cherish is not our Latino Leader. We believe awarding a Latino Leadership Award to the Texas Land Commissioner politicizes our institutions. We want to tell our youth that this should not be allowed.”
The protesters say they object to Bush’s support of the state Republican platform, and his positions on environmental issues like climate change and hydrocarbon fracking, which they say are “contrary to those expressed by the Latino community in polls and in other public sources.”