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— Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Friday bashed regulation on auto dealers in a politically focused keynote address that touched on everything from education reform to the nation’s energy policy.

And while the son of former President George H.W. Bush didn’t throw his hat in the 2016 presidential race, he said he’s “seriously considering the possibility of running.”

Bush spoke on the second day of the National Automobile Dealers Association convention, saying federal regulation of businesses, including auto dealers, is hurting the nation. He noted how dealers pay an average of $2,400 in regulation costs, which are passed on to the consumer.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — created by Congress as part of the 2010 financial overhaul law known as Dodd-Frank in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse — is barred from directly regulating auto dealers but has been investigating banks and auto lending practices for loans arranged by dealers and others.

In March 2013, the bureau urged banks to avoid discriminatory practices, saying dealers were unfairly charging higher interest rates to minorities. It has urged dealers to adopt a standard interest rate for all buyers, instead of having them compete for the best rate.

Bush also called for reforms in immigration, health care, education and energy policy.

“It’s time to challenge every aspect of how government works,” he said.

He said the U.S. is fast becoming the No. 1 producer of oil and gas in the world and said its position could grow stronger with a wider acceptance of hydraulic fracking.

“The problem is this isn’t cool on the coasts,” he said. “It’s cool in places like North Dakota ... because it creates significant economic activity.”

Bush said there needs to be a greater outcry for those in the U.S. who can’t read, and the nation needs to better seal its borders from illegal immigrants and work with legal immigrants who are “an engine of economic vitality.”

Bush also called for better leadership from elected officials.

“People believe dysfunction in Washington is permanent. This is not the worst time to be alive as an American,” he said.

He cited Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Reagan and his father as examples of the kind of leadership Washington needs today.

“We’re on the verge of the greatest time to be alive in this country,” he said.

Bush praised his older brother, former President George W. Bush, who he said has shown “self-restraint” in not going “on T.V., sniping away, challenging President Obama.”

What’s he been doing since leaving the White House in 2008?

“He’s become a painter,” Jeb Bush said. “Who’da thunk it?”

mmartinez@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2401

Twitter.com/MikeMartinez_DN

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