Former President George W. Bush talks life in the White House, retirement years at annual Richardson chamber meeting

This is the former president's second time to speak at the annual meeting. (Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center)
This is the former president's second time to speak at the annual meeting. (Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center)

This is the former president's second time to speak at the annual meeting. (Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center)

In a highly anticipated return, former President George W. Bush visited the Richardson Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting Feb. 21 to speak about his time in the White House.

Bush, who served as the nation's 43rd president from 2001 to 2009, now lives in Dallas. He is the namesake for the presidential library and museum at Southern Methodist University. He first appeared at the chamber’s annual meeting in 1994 while running for governor against then-incumbent Ann Richards.

The conversation, moderated by chamber CEO and President Bill Sproull, lasted about 30 minutes. In that time, Bush spoke candidly about the legacy of his parents, the dangers of isolationism and anti-immigrant sentiments, and the joy that painting has brought him in his retirement years.

Also recognized at the event was Citizen of the Year Charlie Chen, CEO of IT service provider DFW Technology and chairman of international business incubator DFW Innovation Center. Chen came to the United States 40 years ago to pursue the American dream and has spent the last 30 years focused on entrepreneurial endeavors in Richardson.

“I never dreamed of this type of recognition,” he said.

The event ended with a recap of the chamber’s 2019 accomplishments. Last year, it hosted the second annual iDream conference, an event that allows local seventh graders the opportunity to learn about possible career opportunities.

The chamber also launched its Discover Richardson website, a program that connects citizens to chamber member products, services and restaurants. Lastly, a chamber task force settled on “the IQ” as the official name for Richardson’s innovation district, a 1,200-acre industrial area east of Central Expressway that for the past several years has been the subject of an in-depth, city-led revitalization effort.
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


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