COLUMBUS (WCMH) — George H.W. Bush had both political and family ties to Central Ohio.
His grandfather, Samuel Prescott Bush, lived in Ohio for most of his life and was president of Buckeye Steel in Columbus for 22 years.
His father, Prescott Bush, was born in Ohio but moved East to attend a boarding school.
Jo Ann Davidson, former speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, says Bush also inspired a number of political careers. “Not just does he have family connections with Columbus, Ohio but he’s helped some Ohio people tremendously and their political careers and taught us what its like to be a good public servant,” Davidson said.
Davidson recalls when Republicans were the minority party in the Ohio General Assembly in the mid 80’s and reached out to then-Vice President Bush. “I got brave and called him when he was Vice President and asked him whether he’d consider coming to Ohio and consider doing an event for our caucus,” Davidson said. “He said, ‘sure, I’d be glad to help you out. I believe in state politics.’ And so he came in and it was like night and day.”
Davidson said she believes had it not been for Bush’s help, Ohio Republicans might not have regained the majority. “I frankly have no doubt that without his help I would have never had the opportunity to be speaker of the Ohio House,” Davidson said.
A couple of years later, Davidson worked on Bush’s 1988 campaign and was then invited to his inauguration. “It just felt you were a part of something that was meaningful, something that you were bringing a good leader to the country,” Davidson said.
Davidson says she also worked on the re-election campaign in 1992 and sensed the campaign getting some late momentum against Democrat Bill Clinton and Independent Ross Perot. “I remember one day we were out at Capital University and he was making a speech out there…and you could feel it in the air,” Davidson said. “If there had been about two or three more weeks before the election, I think he would have pulled it out.”