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Bush Vows To Earn Spot In Crowded GOP Presidential Field

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Months of speculation will end Monday afternoon when Jeb Bush takes to a stage at Miami Dade College's Kendall campus and reportedly announce his 2016 presidential campaign.

Bush moved to South Florida from Texas in the early 1980's. He became active in commercial real estate and Republican party politics.

On January 5th, 1999, he became Florida's 43rd governor. His father, former president George H.W. Bush, looked on with former First Lady Barbara Bush. His brother, then Governor of Texas George W. Bush, also came to Tallahassee to hear Jeb promise to return Florida's government to the people.

"The best and brightest ideas do not come from the state capital but from the human capital that comes from our diverse communities," said Bush.

John Ellis Bush was born February 11th, 1953 in Midland, Texas. He attended boarding school at Philips Academy in Massachusetts and graduated from the University of Texas with a major in Latin American studies.

He met his wife Columba in Mexico when he was an exchange student. The couple has been married 41 years and have three children: George P., Noelle and Jeb Jr.

In 1999, the 46-year old governor was eager to get started after losing his first bid for governor four years earlier. Bush pledged to be an inclusive leader who would put children first.

"If we leave no other legacy than to leave our children better than ourselves we've accomplished far more than we can imagine," said Bush.

Bush championed tax cuts and reduced government. On education he promoted charter schools, standardized testing and introduced the first voucher system in the country, although it was overturned in the courts.

In 2003, Bush won a second term as governor when he easily defeated Democrat Bill McBride. He became the first Republican governor in the state to be re-elected.

"I want to thank the thousands of volunteers who brought out a massive voter turnout," Bush said.

At his inauguration, he stressed personal responsibility over government programs to solve problems.

"Through our examples and deeds we should strive to shape our socity through kindness and caring."

Back in December, the former Florida governor said he was exploring a 2016 run. His first six months back in politics since leaving the governor's office in 2007 have been underwhelming at times.

Supporters had hoped that this son of one president and brother of another would by now hold a commanding position in an unwieldy Republican field. Yet he has not broken away from the pack.

"I know that I'm going to have to go earn this," Bush said this past week. "It's a lot of work and I'm excited about the prospects of this. It's a long haul. You start wherever you start, and you end a long way away from where we are today, so I just urge everybody to be a little more patient about this."

Bush is unpopular among some of his party's most passionate voters and little known beyond his home state despite the Bush name. He has made it clear that he will remain committed to his core beliefs in the campaign to come — even if his positions on immigration and education standards are deeply unpopular among the conservative base of the party that plays an outsized role in the GOP primaries.

"I'm not going to change who I am," Bush said as he wrapped up a week-long European trip this weekend. "I respect people who may not agree with me, but I'm not going to change my views because today someone has a view that's different."

Bush's team acknowledges political challenges, but dismisses critics who decry a recent staffing shift as proof of a nascent campaign already in crisis. Just as his strengths are exaggerated, they say, so are his weaknesses.

"Gov. Bush recognizes, and he's going to highlight on Monday, the fact that he needs to earn every vote — and he's going to take nothing and nobody for granted," campaign spokesman Tim Miller said.

Indeed, Bush's team is about to get more aggressive. In his speech Monday, Bush plans to make the case that those involved in creating Washington's problems can't fix them. The point is designed to jab Republican senators — one of them his political protégé in Florida, Marco Rubio — who also are seeking the presidential nomination.

And Bush's fundraising operation is not slowing down.

After touring four early-voting states, Bush quickly launches a private fundraising tour with stops in at least 11 cities before the end of the month. Two events alone — a reception at Union Station in Washington on Friday and a breakfast the following week on Seventh Avenue in New York — will account for almost $2 million in new campaign cash, according to invitations that list more than 75 donors committed to raising big money.

Click here for more on Campaign 2016.

Visit at 3 p.m. to watch his "big announcement" live on our website.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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