Friday, December 22, 2006

With a portrait and a library Bush says farewell

Bush appeared at his final official public appearance on Thursday. He met with the press and supporters at the governor's mansion to dedicate an addition to its library built in his honor. He also unveiled his official state portrait.

The portrait of Bush was presented by Lt.-gov Toni Jennings:

(St. Pete Times) Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings noted Bush's formal portrait, by Pensacola artist Jeff Bass, includes a bookcase filled with books, including the Bible, Majorie Kinnan Rawlings' Florida memoir Cross Creek, and the 1899 motivational essay A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard. In the portrait Bush stands between a high-backed leather chair and the bookcase, which is topped with a portrait of Bush's immediate family and a Blackberry, a wireless e-mail device, in a nod to his proud prolific e-mail use.

Aides to Bush say that the library will stand as a testament to his focus on reading over the last eight years:
The governor sat just outside one of two doorways into the new library, which adds roughly 20 percent more public space to the 50-year-old mansion. Speakers said it is only fitting that Bush, a fanatical reader who launched a "Just Read, Florida!" literacy initiative, would leave a library behind. Aside from books about Florida and by Florida authors, the library is designed to eventually include Florida artwork. Its $500,000 cost, including the adjacent outdoor 740-square-foot portico, was financed with private donations.

"He believes every child can learn. ... And there will be books in this library some day where authors will chronicle his impact," said former Bush chief of staff Kathleen Shanahan, now CEO of WRS Infrastructure & Environment in Tampa and a fundraiser for the library project.

Bush also reflected on the last eight years:
"It has been an unbelievable, fun job. It's been the best job in the world," Bush said as he closed his remarks. "I had one of those moments where I said, 'Get over it and stop worrying about it and start thinking about what the future holds.'

When Bush finally stood to address the crowd, he cracked a joke about his first lieutenant governor, Frank Brogan, who left office in 2003 "for a cushy job in South Florida" as Florida Atlantic University's president. "That's something I'm looking for, by the way.," he quipped, rattling off his well known e-mail address.

Bush's comments were brief, personal and philosophical. He appeared to briefly fight back tears as he thanked his wife, sitting in the front row, for her support.

"I think when an anthropologist looks at my life down the road when I'm a skeleton that's dug up, they would probably have to categorize it as BC and AC: Before Columba and After Columba.

"You guys didn't know me Before Columba, I'll just leave it at that," Bush said.

The governor told the crowd he would miss the mansion, its staff and its chef Joshua Butler - "I don't think a guy could survive his good food a third term."

And he thanked his supporters, "for making it possible for me to serve," singling out U.S. Ambassador to Portugal Al Hoffman. The southwest Florida developer and founder of WCI Communities was instrumental in Bush's campaign financing, and headed the committee that raised money for the library.

"I really, honestly believe we have made a difference," Bush said. "My core belief at the end of the day is that if we can just build the field of dreams, just build the fertile ground if you will that allows people, individuals and families to pursue their own dreams there will be more prosperity, more innovation and more good things happening than any government program ever created.

"I believed that when I got here. And I believe it just as much as I leave."

We believe that Bush made a big difference in Florida over the past eight years, and we hope the Crist will carry forward that legacy.

God speed Governor Bush.

1 comment:

Blog-Stew said...

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