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Jenna Bush Hager says no politics in her future

By Angela Ward
Jan. 7, 2014 at 11 p.m.

A former first daughter told a Longview audience Tuesday she knew education had the power to change lives, but as she's traveled the globe, she realizes education can literally save lives.

"I believe the more we know about the plight of people all over the world, the more we're likely to help them," said Jenna Bush Hager, the daughter of former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush. She also is the granddaughter of former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush.

Hager, a contributing correspondent for NBC's "Today" show who also serves as an editor-at-large for Southern Living magazine, shared her thoughts on balancing work and motherhood, the importance of being involved in the community and a few anecdotes about her famous parents and grandparents as the guest speaker at Tuesday's Stars Over Longview luncheon.

"My grandparents have had a huge influence on me, and now I love seeing my own parents as grandparents," Hager said. "They're missing Mila (Hager's infant daughter) already, even though we were all together at Christmas."

Hager said that neither she nor her twin sister is interested in pursuing a political career, but they're supportive of cousin George P. Bush's bid for Texas land commissioner.

"We respect people who choose to go into politics, but there are lots of ways to make a difference in the world, and politics is just one of them," Hager said.

At the luncheon, Hager said she loved being back in Texas, but joked that she'd hoped to leave the cold weather behind her in New York City.

"I love being in a room full of people who care about the community," she said. "As a new mother, I understand that all moms want the chance for our kids to lead healthy, happy, productive lives."

Because of her father's presidency, Hager said she and her sister were able to travel the world, and her current jobs allow her somewhat similar trips.

Hager spoke of several women she'd met throughout the years who were living with HIV, including one who inspired her to write the best-selling book "Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope."

She also shared stories from her work as a teacher in a charter school and as an intern with UNICEF - as well as some of the topics she's covered for NBC - to illustrate the universal longings of mothers and children.

When she first began teaching, Hager said she was not prepared for the poverty she witnessed, nor for the physical and mental strength needed to engage 24 "precocious" 9-year-olds for hours every day.

"They were amazing kids, but the odds were stacked against them," she said. "They showed me so much."



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