Laura Welch Bush (born Laura Lane Welch on November 4, 1946) is the wife of President George W. Bush and serves as First Lady of the United States.
Early life and tragic accident
Laura Lane Welch was born in Midland, Texas, the only child of Harold and Jenna Welch. She attended the same high school as Tommy Franks and was a popular student.
On November 6, 1963, Welch failed to stop at a designated intersection and struck and killed her former boyfriend Michael Douglas. She and her passenger, Judy Dykes, were treated for minor injuries at a local hospital. Welch was not charged. 
In recent press interviews she has said that: "All I can say about that (is) it was a very, very, tragic accident I was involved in when I was 17 years old, almost 40-something years ago. It was a terrible accident. It was terrible for everyone involved," ... "I know this as an adult, and even more as a parent, it was crushing... for the family involved and for me as well," she said. 
College years and marriage
Welch earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1968 from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. After graduating, she became a schoolteacher at Longfellow Elementary School in Dallas Independent School District until 1969. She then taught at John F. Kennedy Elementary School, a Houston Independent School District school in Houston, until 1972. Bush also earned a Master of Science degree in Library Science in 1973 from the University Texas in Austin. After that, she worked at the Kashmere Gardens Branch at the Houston Public Library until 1974, when she moved back to Austin. She was a librarian at an Austin Independent School District school, Dawson Elementary School, until 1977.
Jenna and Barbara Bush with their parents George W. Bush and Laura Bush
She met George W. Bush in 1977 and after a three month courtship married him on November 5 of that year. In 1981, she gave birth to twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, who have now graduated from college.
Laura Bush surrounded by George W. Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox, and Marta Sahagún
Laura became the first lady of Texas when her husband George was elected as the Governor of Texas
and served as first lady of that state from 1995
. After the outcome of the 2000 Presidential Election
was finally resolved in December 2000, George Bush resigned as Texas Governor to prepare for his inauguration as President of the United States
in January 2001; Laura then became the First Lady of the United States. As First Lady of the United States, she has championed education causes and women's health issues, and launched the first National Book Festival . She also worked for women's and children's causes while she was the First Lady of Texas, when she established the Adopt-a-Caseworker Program and the Rainbow Room program. Bush has taken a decidedly less prominent role in policy-making than her predecessors.
Mexican First Lady Marta Sahagún and Laura Bush
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, which defined her husband's presidency during his first term, Bush took an interest in mitigating the emotional effects of the attacks on children, which were disturbing particularly as the images were repeatedly replayed on TV. Many schools closed early, especially those with children whose parents worked in Washington, D.C. and NYC. The following day, after consulting with many experts, Bush commented to parents that it was not good for children to be exposed to the numerous replays of the incidents, and that parents should consider turning off the television, especially understanding how children reacted when watching television coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. She also composed open letters which were distributed by state education officials. A "Dear Students" letter went to middle and high school students , while elementary school students got one saying, "Dear Children." 
In November 2001, she became the first person other than a president to deliver the weekly presidential radio address. She used the opportunity to discuss the plight of women in Afghanistan during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. In May 2002, she made a speech to the people of Afghanistan through Radio Liberty, a radio station in Prague, Czech Republic.
Her Secret Service codename was reported to be "Tempo" (the Secret Service changes codenames as soon as they become public knowledge).
Last updated: 05-16-2005 06:52:43