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The George H.W. Bush legacy

In America’s rise to becoming the most powerful country that has ever existed, millions of people have put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom and democracy. George H.W. Bush was such a person.

I worked for H.W.’s administration. It was an adventure that challenged me and greatly enhanced my appreciation for public service. The standards were high and the dedication to making America stronger and greater was sincerely felt, not a sound bite.

This George Bush devoted his life to making our country a safer, stronger nation … a place where many people from around the world wanted to live. He even made it easier for them with the Immigration Act of 1990. He also protected our constitutional rights and the free press. By appealing to our better natures, he made us a much better country.

In some respects, my time in Washington was an eye opener for a young man entering the Beltway in his pickup truck. As a Midwesterner inexperienced in the ways of partisan politics, I saw my share of power trips and political intrigue during the Bush administration, but it was nothing like the upheaval today. Sure, there were fights and struggles, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle came together to get the people’s work done.

As administrator of the National Park Service, I can tell you George Bush was deeply dedicated to our national parks and historical sites. He and Barbara greatly appreciated our natural treasures and worked hard to bring more areas into the park system. For example, he enlisted my help in an effort to preserve an important tract of century-old Saguaro cacti in Arizona. The Bush crew undertook other environmental projects for which he never received credit, though some people would counter that business was his top priority.

Politics aside, let’s look at the man. George H.W. Bush was a war hero, dad, granddad, husband, politician and president. He put his stamp on America with a gentle hand. He enlisted some of the best minds to be part of his administration, and he gave me the opportunity to see what I could offer. For that, I am ever grateful.

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