Apr 10, 2014
11:50 PM
Connecticut Politics

Jeb Bush Calls for Republicans to Embrace Immigration Reform

Jeb Bush Calls for Republicans to Embrace Immigration Reform

Jennifer Swift

Jeb Bush speaks at the dinner Thursday night.

Revising typical Republican policies on issues, such as immigration, that have alienated voters in the past, should now be seen as opportunity to make the party “young, dynamic, vibrant and emerging again,” and to move the country’s economy forward, former Florida Governor and possible presidential candidate Jeb Bush told hundreds of Connecticut Republicans Thursday night.

“If we want to be young and dynamic again, we need to be young and dynamic again. And that means we should consider immigration reform not as a problem but as a huge opportunity,” Bush said, speaking to the economic growth opportunities immigration reform could provide.

Bush acknowledged the buzz his recent comments on immigration reform had created, when he suggested immigrants come to the United States out of an “act of love” for those they care for, which received backlash from some within his party.

“The simple fact is there is no conflict between enforcing our laws, believing in the rule of law and having some sensitivity to the immigration experience, which is a part of who we are as a country,” he said, later adding, “Perpetuating a system that’s broken won’t solve our problem. Fixing it, and making it an economically driven system, will be part of the catalytic converter for sustaining economic growth.”

Bush received a booming round of applause when he called for the repeal of Obamacare. He also ticked off other changes or issues to support, including education reforms, revising the tax code and energy policies.

Bush spoke of the need to “restore social mobility” in the country.

“The way to create a positive agenda for the Republican party where people don’t automatically turn us off because they don’t think we’re on their side, is to argue for and to advocate with passionate conviction high-sustaining economic growth where everybody has a chance at earned success. That should be our strategy. That is our unifying theme. That is where we get independents and Democrats to embrace us,” Bush said.

Bush said the party needs to build on the local successes of Republicans to have a Republican president to reverse the damage done to the economy and domestic and foreign policies. Even in deep-blue Connecticut, Republican progress is possible, he said, and there are examples around the country.

But the Republican party will also need to unite internally in order to take hold of leadership positions, from the governor’s office through the president’s office, other speakers said.

“We have to work not just across the aisle, but within our own side of the aisle,” said Linda McMahon. McMahon, a former wrestling executive at WWE and two-time U.S. Senate candidate, was the recipient of the Prescott Bush Award. “We don’t have to agree on every issue to agree we are Republicans, but we must support Republican candidates by turning out voters, because staying home is not an option.”

McMahon said the party needs to re-brand itself as the “party that knows how to get things done” and needs to do a better job appealing to women by better communicating their messages and appealing to their “hearts.”

“We have our work cut out for us,” she said.



Jeb Bush Calls for Republicans to Embrace Immigration Reform

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