Laura Bush is the wife of George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States. She served as First Lady from 2001 to 2009.
Laura Lane Welch was born on November 4, 1946, in Midland, Texas. In 1968, she earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Southern Methodist University. After graduation, she worked as a teacher in public schools in both Dallas and Houston. In 1973, she received her master’s degree in library science at the University of Texas at Austin. Laura Bush went on to work as a librarian.
Marriage to George H.W. Bush
Laura met George W. Bush in July 1977 at a backyard barbeque hosted by mutual friends. He proposed to her after one month of dating, and they were married on November 5, 1977. The couple would go on to have twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara.
Laura supported her husband’s entry into politics by campaigning alongside him in his run for Congress in 1978. He lost the election, but would go on to become Governor of Texas in 1995. With his election, Laura Bush became the First Lady of Texas. She used her role to advocate women’s and children’s issues, including health, education, and literacy.
First Lady of the United States
George W. Bush was elected president in 2000 and went on to serve two terms. As First Lady of the United States, Laura Bush continued to focus on education and literacy, among other issues.
In 2001, Laura Bush partnered with the Library of Congress to launch the annual National Book Festival, which aimed to promote a love of reading. She also created “Ready to Read, Ready to Learn,” an education initiative that promoted best practices in early childhood education and raised awareness of innovative teacher training programs.
Laura Bush also spoke out against human rights abuses across the world. In November 2001, she became the first First Lady to give the President’s weekly radio address, speaking out against the Taliban’s abuse of women and children. After a cyclone ravaged Burma in May 2008, Laura Bush held an unprecedented press conference in the White House Press Briefing Room and urged the regime to accept international aid. Bush also traveled to the Thai-Burma border and met with refugees who fled Burma’s oppressive military regime.
Laura Bush also used her position to bring attention to women’s health issues. In 2003, she partnered with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to launch “The Heart Truth” campaign and the “Red Dress” project, which seek to raise awareness about the risk for heart disease in women. In 2006, Laura Bush helped establish the first international partnerships for breast cancer awareness and research, including the U.S.-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research and the Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research of the Americas.
Since leaving the White House, Laura Bush has continued to support numerous causes, such as women’s health, human rights, and education. She is also the Chair for the George W. Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative.
The former First Lady also serves on many boards, including the National Advisory Board for the Salvation Army, the Council for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Board of Trustees for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
In May 2010, Bush released her memoir, Spoken from the Heart. She has also written two successful children’s books with her daughter Jenna.