Remembering President George H.W. Bush as family announces his passing

He was the man who sought a “kinder, and gentler nation,” and the one who sternly invited Americans to read his lips — he would not raise taxes. He was the popular leader of a mighty coalition that dislodged Iraq from Kuwait, and was turned out of the presidency after a single term. Blue-blooded and genteel, he was elected in one of the nastiest campaigns in recent history.

George Herbert Walker Bush was many things, including only the second American to see his son follow him into the nation’s highest office. But more than anything else, he was a believer in government service. Few men or women have served America in more capacities than the man known as “Poppy.”

“There is no higher honor than to serve free men and women, no greater privilege than to labor in government beneath the Great Seal of the United States and the American flag,” he told senior staffers in 1989, days after he took office.

Bush, who died at age 94 — nearly eight months after his wife of 73 years died at their Houston home — was a congressman, an ambassador to the United Nations and envoy to China, chairman of the Republican National Committee, director of the CIA, two-term vice president and, finally, president.

He was no ideologue — he spoke disparagingly of “the vision thing,” and derided the supply-side creed of his future boss, Ronald Reagan, as “voodoo economics.” He is generally given better marks by historians for his foreign policy achievements than for his domestic record, but assessments of his presidency tend to be tepid. Continue Reading

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Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua)

“It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the passing of former President George H.W. Bush. Our nation has lost a hero, whose legacy of service and record of achievement may never be seen again.

His extraordinary commitment to our country began as a naval aviator in World War II. He later served as Ambassador to the United Nations, Envoy to China, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Vice President under Ronald Reagan before ascending to the highest office in the land.

President George H.W. Bush set an example for us all, as a devoted family man, humble public servant and distinguished statesman. He was a part of our Greatest Generation and will forever be remembered for his unparalleled career and remarkable life.

Today we honor and reflect on America’s 41st President not only for his great successes but for his indelible spirit. My deepest condolences are with the Bush family at this time.”

We’ll continue to update this section with local reaction as it comes in to the newsroom.

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