Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has taken his most definitive step yet toward running for president, announcing plans to "actively explore" a campaign and form a new political operation allowing him to raise money for like-minded Republicans.

In a holiday message posted on Bush's Facebook page and Twitter account, the son and brother of past Republican presidents said he discussed the "future of our nation" and a potential bid for the White House with members of his family over the Thanksgiving holiday.

"As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States,'' Bush wrote.

He added, "In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America".

Kristy Campbell, a spokeswoman for Bush, said he has not yet made a final decision on whether to seek the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 2016. She said that he will announce his decision next year "after gauging support'' for a run.

Tuesday's statement is the latest and most definitive signal that Bush plans to try and become the third member of his family to serve as president.

His brother George W Bush was the 43rd president of the US - between 2001 and 2009, while their father, George HW Bush, was the 41st president of the US between 1989 and 1993.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies