Born and raised in Houston, Texas, John Ellis Bush (who prefers to go by his initials, JEB) studied and earned a degree in Latin American Affairs before beginning his career in politics. He became Florida's Secretary of Commerce in 1986, resigning two years later to support his father's (former President George Herbert Walker Bush) bid for the white house. After trying unsuccessfully to become Governor of Florida in 1994, Bush won the office in '98, beginning what would become the first two-term Republican gubernatorial administration in Florida's history. More recently, Bush has announced his intention to investigate a possible presidential run in 2016.
Jeb Bush has a solid conservative record on a number of issues from his term as Florida's Governor. He supports the death penalty, having held office during 21 executions and declining to commute any of the sentences. He reduced taxes while in office, as well as cut the size of state government, vetoed over $2 billion in new spending, and lowered funding for public projects including libraries and homework assistance programs.
Nevertheless, Bush is sometimes criticized by fellow Republicans for being too liberal to win the GOP nomination. Of particular concern is his lenient stance on immigration policy, practically a necessity in Florida with its large Hispanic population, but nevertheless an extremely important and passionate issue for many American conservatives. It is easy to argue, however, given the Republican party's recent history of nominating candidates with questionable conservative credentials – including the likes of Mitt Romney and John McCain – that these worries may be overblown.
One potential danger facing Jeb Bush that can scarcely be overstated, however, is his very name. He comes from the highly controversial Bush family which, while unquestionably successful in politics, hosted the infamously unpopular President George W, who left office with the lowest approval rating in American history. Because their father, George Herbert Walker, also served as President from 1988 to 1992, Jeb faces the likely obstacle of American fatigue with the Bush family and hesitancy to establish a three-member Bush dynasty. And while in an ideal political landscape, perhaps, each candidate could be judged exclusively on his or her own merits, it seems frankly naïve to suppose that Jeb's family association will not work against him should he choose to formally pursue the presidency in 2016.