SUGAR LAND (Covering Katy News) - Republican Pierce Bush is running for Texas Congressional District 22. It’s a seat that is being vacated by Republican Pete Olson and a seat that the Democratic Party believes it can capture due to the changing demographics in Fort Bend County.
Bush’s grandfather was the 41st president of the United States. His uncle was the 43rd president of the United States. Another uncle, Jeb, was governor of Florida, and his cousin George P. serves as Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office. Pierce is the son of Houston businessman Neil Bush.
Pierce Bush, 33, says being a member of the Bush family can work both ways when running for office.
“My uncle George told me it’s great to be a member of the Bush family, but that he inherited half of my grandfather’s friends and all of his enemies,” Bush said with a laugh.
Bush spoke lovingly about his family, especially the impact of his grandmother Barbara and how she guided all of his cousins to pursue things that are bigger than themselves.
“There is not a single one of us who has taken anything for granted. Everybody has dedicated themselves to something that has required them to work hard and to be part of something that is bigger than ourselves, and that is because my grandmother would have never let us have it any other way. She was a very tough-love grandmother,” he said. “We called her the enforcer,” Bush added with a smile.
Over a cup of coffee at a Sugar Land Starbucks, Bush was asked to zero in on who he is specifically and explain why he wants to represent Texas’ 22nd Congressional District, which encompasses much of the Katy area and Fort Bend County.
Who is Pierce Bush?
“I am someone who has spent his entire life in this region, except when I went to the University of Texas at Austin,” Bush said. “I am a guy who was in private equity and turned away a career making more money to go into Big Brothers Big Sisters.”
He served as the Chief Executive Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s Lone Star Chapter.
“I did not start as the CEO. I worked my way up; I earned that position three years into my tenure,” Bush said.
His life has been rooted in the Houston area. He recently moved to Sugar Land, in the middle of the district he hopes to represent. While he did not previously live in the 22nd Congressional District, he says he’s been working for the children of the district for years.
“Because of my service with Big Brothers Big Sisters I know this community. I’ve been serving this community. I’ve been activating volunteers to defend the God given potential of every child that lives in this community.”
Until stepping down to run for office, Bush led the largest Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliate in the country. He says the organization has had a positive impact on his life.
“I’ve been a big brother far longer than I’ve worked there.”
Bush says he’s been mentoring a child through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program since the boy was 6 years old. “Now he’s a junior in high school,” Bush said.
The organization is also where he met his wife Sarabeth.
“She’s finishing writing a book for fatherless girls. She grew up in this region. She’s had a job since she was 15 and is such an amazingly strong woman.”
Why does he want to represent the 22nd Congressional District?
“I think this region is what’s best about our country, and I think this district is a microcosm of that.”
Bush says if you want to know what America will look like in 20 years, you need look no further than Texas’ 22nd Congressional District.
“This is the country in 20 years. It is this district,” Bush said. “It does not matter where you are from. It does not matter who your family is. It does not matter what school you went to. If you want to work hard, if you have character and you reach out, this community will embrace you and opportunity is there because of conservative values that have enabled it.”
Is he ready for the job?
Bush believes his time with Big Brothers Big Sisters has prepared him for being a lawmaker.
“I am a legislative leader by nature. I was the leader of a staff of 180, but we had 17 boards in our organization. My fiduciary board was 35 members. I understand legislative leadership.”
What are his priorities?
If elected, one of Bush’s first priorities would be to “fix” the National Flood Insurance Program.
“The National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire. If you are paying a $500 premium now, you are going to pay a $3,600 premium,” Bush said. “I’m worried that people don’t know the ramifications of what will happen if this does not get solved. The United States Congress needs to solve it. It’s going to have a tremendous effect on Fort Bend.”
“The cost of healthcare is absurd. It’s broken. Our agency (Big Brothers Big Sisters) was paying over a million dollars per year. Think of where that money could have gone to take care of more kids,” Bush said. “My wife went to the doctor’s several months ago. She was given a multiple thousand dollar bill. She was never given a price list, and they ran these tests and insurance did not cover it, or much of it,” he said.
Bush believes that Washington has made the healthcare crisis worse, not better.
“It goes back to my basic core value that anytime the government does try to intervene they typically make it more complicated. That’s certainly what they’ve done with Obamacare. They’ve limited the ability of other insurance providers to compete, and the system is still so broken.”
Border security is another top priority for Bush.
“The drug cartels are such a clear reason of why we need to have strong border security and secure the wall. I have seen through my work, families torn apart because of the violence of drug cartels,” Bush said. “Then you look at the human trafficking situation, the broken immigration system and we need some real leaders who can fix these issues.”
There are dozens of issues that he’d face if elected to Congress, far too many to cover over a cup of coffee, but he says he has some guiding principles.
One has to do with the financial impact of his decisions.
“Is this going to put more money into the pockets of the people of this district or is it going to add more to their costs?” he asked.
He also says he’s no fan of what he sees as the Democratic Party’s current flirtation with socialism through its polices and the leaders it’s embracing.
“Through my work with Big Brothers Big Sisters, I have seen people overcome incredible odds and achieve the American dream. My fear for this country is that people will say government is the solution to solve all ills. Really, when you go back and look at what has made this country so great, it is the free market systems. It is that we have robust faith-based organizations, nonprofits that people give to generously and sacrificially in ways that you don’t see in other countries,” Bush said. “That is how you lift people up, and enable people to make decisions for their lives. When people are empowered to make decisions, when they can review the positives and negatives, they are going to make better decisions.”
Bush says socialism will never be a formula for empowering people.
“I’m somebody who is driven by empowering other people to achieve their full God given potential in life.”
And he sees the 22nd Congressional District as the embodiment of the American experience.
“It’s an incredible, diverse district that represents what’s best about American opportunity,” he said. “It’s worth protecting.”