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Longtime STLPR political reporter, disability rights advocate remember George H.W. Bush

George H.W. Bush took the oath of office as the 41st president of the United States on Jan. 20, 1989.
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George H.W. Bush took the oath of office as the 41st president of the United States on Jan. 20, 1989.

Before and after former President George H.W. Bush’s time as commander in chief, St. Louis was a favorite destination for him, with a number of his family members living in the region.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies to remember the 41st U.S. president, who died Friday night. Marsh and Mannies reflected on their experiences as reporters during Bush’s time in politics, as well as the former president’s legacy, successes and failures. 

Mannies noted that Bush received only 34 percent of the vote in Missouri during his unsuccessful 1992 bid for re-election.

“[Bush] was a classy guy, but he had his issues, like all the presidents or major presidential candidates,” Mannies said. Bush has been criticized for ignoring the LGBTQ community and the AIDS epidemic, for the Gulf War and “was hammered over the economy.”

She added that Bush was also on the forefront of supporting legislation to improve clean air and clean water in the country and a supporter of disability rights.

Colleen Starkloff, executive director of the Starkloff Disability Institute, joined the conversation by the phone to talk about Bush’s efforts in passing the Americans with Disabilities Act in two years.

“When it was signed, he said, ‘Let the shameful walls of exclusion finally come tumbling down.’ And he also talked at the time about people with disabilities being employees and getting into jobs – and that employers should take note of us as a new talent pool,” Starkloff said.

Listen to the full conversation here:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie HemphillLara Hamdan and Xandra Ellin give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.

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