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Bush's School Master
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Personal profiles; Education policy
Author: Frey, Jennifer
Date: Mar 8, 2001
Start Page: C.01
Section: STYLE

When Paige bought this house, back when he first moved to Houston in the early 1970s, Brentwood was the kind of middle-class suburban neighborhood where he hoped to raise his family. He has stayed there through the deterioration of some parts of the community, through a battle to remove a dump from the edge of the neighborhood (a fight that Paige spurred, and that went to the Texas Supreme Court before Brentwood's citizens finally prevailed). He stayed through a tug-of- war over control of the local Baptist church between the blacks who had settled there and the whites who were rapidly leaving, and he stayed when that church was rebuilt into a multimillion-dollar complex that is now the soul of the neighborhood.

Paige's office has provided psychologists and other resources to the school system and offered assistance to local law enforcement, according to Terry Abbott, Paige's chief of staff. But Paige has declined further comment on the situation -- according to Abbott, because the secretary is "trying to be real careful" about not interfering with the local school administration as it handles this crisis.

The truth is, Paige was an independent and voted for candidates in both parties through his early adulthood. It was the [Laura Bush] family, he says, who swayed him to become a Republican -- former president [George W. Bush], to be precise. Paige met Bush when they both were active in community groups in some of the poorer Houston neighborhoods, and he was impressed enough to volunteer when Bush campaigned for the presidency before the 1980 election. When Ronald Reagan won the nomination and asked Bush to be his running mate, Paige became one of the delegates to the Republican National Convention that summer. It became official: Paige was a Republican.

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