George P. Bush announced Monday that he will seek re-election as land commissioner in 2018.
Bush, 41, has served since 2015 as head of the state agency that oversees state lands and natural resources, which are used, among other purposes, to provide revenue for the Permanent School Fund. The $37 billion fund is the nation’s largest education endowment, providing $1 billion in 2016 to help school districts pay for education costs and to back construction bonds of public schools.
“Conservative principles, conservative results. That’s what we’re doing at the general land office — and we’re just getting started,” Bush said in a campaign video announcing his bid for a second four-year term.
The video also listed some of what his campaign considers his biggest accomplishments in office, including standing up “for the sanctity of life,” helping veterans with home loans and counseling services, conserving the Alamo and fighting the federal government to keep private Texas land from being reclassified as public.
In 2016, the land office joined a lawsuit to push against reclassifying about 116 miles of land along the Red River near the Oklahoma border, which included 78 acres dedicated to the Permanent School Fund.
Bush has also been a vocal supporter of “school choice,” an effort to redirect public school money to help families pay for private school tuition.
Bush — the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, nephew of former President George W. Bush and grandson of former President George H.W. Bush — never ran for public office before 2015. Political experts and allies saw his land commissioner bid as the start of a more ambitious political career.
Bush was one of the few in his family to publicly endorse Donald Trump during the presidential election and led fundraising efforts for the Republican ticket in Texas as the party’s Victory 2016 chairman.
He also was among several state agency leaders who were criticized last year after published reports revealed that former state employees were still being paid one to two months after they had quit working.