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What does Jeb Bush believe? Where the candidate stands on 11 issues

BY   June 15, 2015 at 11:25 AM EST
Former Florida Governor and probably 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire April 17, 201by 5. Photo Brian Snyder/Reuters

Former Florida Governor and likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire, in April. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

He is a real estate developer turned two-term Florida governor. John Ellis Bush (J.E.B.) speaks fluent Spanish at home, chose to become a Texas Longhorn and is one of the Bush family’s middle children. The son and brother of presidents, he has only run for one other elected office before now. Here is where Jeb Bush stands on eleven key issues.

Climate change: Climate change is a real concern. It is not clear how much is caused by humans.

At an April event in New Hampshire, Bush said he is concerned about climate change, though he is more worried about the American economy. Nearly a month later, the former governor said science is not clear on how much climate change is cause by mankind. Bush has said the U.S. should work with other countries to cut carbon emissions and has stressed the role of private industry in addressing the problem.

Education: Implement Common Core. No Child Left Behind is flawed but should have been reauthorized.

The former Florida governor favors the state-initiated Common Core education standards. At the same time, he opposes using federal funds to motivate or force states to adopt Common Core. Bush also supported his brother’s signature education initiative “No Child Left Behind” and pushed for the Obama administration to reauthorize the program.

Watch the PBS NewsHour Democratic Primary Debate, 9 p.m. EST Feb. 11, on your local PBS station, and in our live stream, which will begin at 8:30 p.m.

Guns: Expand gun owners’ rights.

In 2005, Governor Bush signed into law the controversial “stand your ground” legislation, which allows Florida residents to use deadly force when threatened in public. As governor, Bush approved numerous measures that expanded gun owners’ rights, including concealed carry.

Immigration: Create a legal status, not a path to citizenship, for undocumented residents. Limit family-related legal immigration.

In May on CBS’ Face the Nation, Bush laid out his position on immigration: establish a provisional, legal status for those in the country illegally but do not offer them a path to citizenship. Two years earlier, in 2013, Bush supported the path to citizenship contained in the Senate-passed immigration bill. Bush, whose wife is a naturalized immigrant, told the Club for Growth in February that to gain legal status, undocumented immigrants should pay fines, file taxes and learn English. In addition, the former governor has said he wants to decrease the number of people allowed to immigrate to the U.S. because of family relationships and increase the number based on their skills.

Marijuana: Each state should decide on legalization. Florida should not allow either recreational or medical marijuana to be legalized and widely sold.

Bush opposed a 2014 ballot initiative in Florida which would have legalized the sale of marijuana for medical use. Overall, the former governor believes each state should decide the issue. He is unsure whether states or the federal government should enforce marijuana laws. A marijuana smoker in high school,, Bush called his use of the drug then a “stupid decision.”

Obamacare: Replace with “market-oriented” alternative.

Calling the healthcare law a “monstrosity”, Bush wants to replace Obamacare with a “market-oriented alternative.” He proposes that government create some kind of backup or support system for people who have a health need that costs far beyond their means.

Social issues: Ban most abortions after 20 weeks. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Not clear on how to react if Supreme Court rules otherwise.

Bush is personally opposed to gay marriage but earlier this year he called for people to “respect” same-sex marriages after a Florida court allowed gay couples to marry. It is unclear whether Bush would stand by the Supreme Court if justices rule in favor of gay marriage. In 1994, then a candidate for governor, Bush wrote that sodomy should not be a protected Constitutional right. His spokeswoman said in January that those words no longer reflect his view. On abortion, Bush supports the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which would ban abortion after 20 weeks, making exceptions for the life of the mother, rape or incest. While governor, Bush staunchly sided with the parents of Terry Schiavo, who wanted to keep their daughter on life support, against Schiavo’s husband who ultimately won in court.

Taxes: Oppose tax increases, but do not sign a pledge against them.

A spokeswoman for Bush told the Washington Times in October of 2014 that the Florida politician does not support tax increases of any kind. In 2012, then Governor Bush told a House committee that he would accept a hypothetical budget deal containing a dollar in tax increases for every ten dollars of spending cuts. He has chosen not to sign the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to not raise taxes.

Iran and Israel: Cancel any nuclear deal President Obama reaches with Iran. Strengthen ties with Israel.

Bush would cancel any deal produced by President Obama’s negotiations with Iran. In an op-ed in March, he argued that the deal would allow Iran to intimidate the Middle East. On Israel, Bush has called for a stronger relationship with both the Jewish state and current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Islamic State and Iraq: Embed U.S. trainers with Iraqi troops. No decision yet on whether to send more ground troops. Build new U.S. base in Anbar province.

Bush told CBS’ “Face the Nation” he would embed U.S. military trainers with Iraqi troops and that he believes the Islamic State group can be defeated without the use of American ground troops. At the same time, he has not ruled adding to the 3,000 to 3,500 U.S. troops in Iraq now. The Republican hopeful said he would form a strategy with White House advisors and look to the “long haul.” The former governor has endorsed the idea of adding a new U.S. base in Iraq’s Anbar province. After a series of questions about his brother’s decision to go to war, Jeb Bush said that in hindsight he would not have invaded Iraq in 2003.

Russia: Consider putting U.S. troops in the region. Hold more robust military exercises.

Vladimir Putin is a “bully,”Bush told reporters during his European trip in June, arguing that the U.S. needs to send a tangible sign that it is on the side of Poland, the Baltics and other nearby states. The White House hopeful said the U.S. ought to “consider putting troops there” and mentioned expanded military exercises as an example of how American forces might be used.

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