By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, Va. —
Improving the nation’s education system and fostering sustained economic growth were among many topics Tuesday when Florida’s former governor addressed local students and guests at the Hugh I. Shott Jr. Lecture Series.
Jeb Bush, son of former president George Bush Sr. and brother of former president George W. Bush Jr., spoke with local reporters before addressing the audience in the Dome gymnasium on the Bluefield College campus.
“I’m looking forward to talking about something that I really think is important for the long-term success as a nation, which is how we can create sustained economic growth over the long haul to lift our spirits and to create the chance for everybody to be successful in life,” Bush said.
“I think too many people feel like economic growth is something irrelevant. They don’t feel like they can access it, that it’s meaningful to them, and we need to change that quickly,” he stated. “We need to give people a sense that if they work hard and apply themselves and get a quality education, the future is unlimited for them.”
Fostering better education both at the public school level and at institutions of higher learning is important to boosting the nation’s economy, he said.
“I’m a little excessive about this because I feel like we’ve defaulted to a no-growth strategy where ultimately we end up arguing over a shrinking pie rather than the more hopeful, optimistic path in which we expand the pie and we give people the capacity to pursue their own dreams,” Bush said.
A strategy for stimulating economic growth would include energy, he stated.
The process could be helped by encouraging people with technical skills to immigrate to America.
“It would start with a patriotic energy policy based on our resources and American innovation. We lead the world in innovation, certainly in the energy sector. It would embrace the idea as part of the heritage of our country,” he said. “We’re an immigrant country. We have a huge advantage over the rest of the world.”
Fostering “wholesome, loving family life” for the nation’s young people is part of the economic equation, too.
“We have ignored the fact that children in a complex world need to be loved and need to be taught, need to be guided. You cannot just untether them and expect them to have the values that will allow them to be successful,” Bush said.
Bush joined a distinguished list of speakers in the Shott Lecture Series that includes former U.S. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger, and former Vice President Dan Quayle.