Rick Perry

Rick Perry was the forty-seventh governor of Texas, becoming the nation’s longest-serving governor in a run that started when he stepped up to succeed newly elected president George W. Bush on December 21, 2000. Perry won his first full term on November 2, 2002, in an election that ushered in a new era of Republican dominance in Texas leadership. He won two more elections and was sworn in for an unprecedented fourth time on January 18, 2011. Perry, a graduate of Texas A&M University, is the first Aggie to be governor. A fifth-generation Texan, he is married to Anita Perry. They have two children, Griffin and Sydney.

For most of history, Texas has been considered a “weak governor” state. That changed under Perry’s leadership. “His long tenure in office . . . has enabled him to establish what amounts to a cabinet style of government,” giving him vastly more power than any of his predecessors, senior executive editor Paul Burka wrote in 2009.

Perry was born on March 4, 1950, and was raised by Ray and Amelia Perry in a modest frame house with no indoor plumbing in the tiny, unincorporated town of Paint Creek. His father worked their 10,000-acre cotton farm and was a county commissioner for 28 years; his mother was a bookkeeper at a nearby gin. (His mother sewed his underwear through college, he told editor Jake Silverstein in 2011.) He enrolled at Texas A&M, and was elected by the student body to be a yell leader, joining an elite group of five guys who lead football cheers. After graduation in 1972, he enlisted in the military. He flew transport planes for the Air Force, and when his tour ended in 1977, he returned to Paint Creek to take over the family ranch operation.

Perry entered a local state representative race as a Democrat in 1984 and won handily–the first of ten straight political victories, proving that he was a “great campaigner,” as we called him in 2011. During a certain point in his career, Perry came to realize that a conservative D like himself had little opportunity to win statewide office. This dovetailed nicely with Senator Phil Gramm aggressive efforts to woo converts to the Republican party, and in the fall of 1989, Perry announced he was going to switch parties.

In 2011 during a RedState rally in South Carolina, Perry announced his intention to run for the office of President of the United States of America. He dropped out 159 days later, ending what was widely considered to be a poorly run campaign, and endorsed Newt Gingrich. Texas Monthly named Perry the 2012 Bum Steer of the Year, a decision that was finalized, “in a matter of seconds. Fifty-three of them, to be exact: the time it took the governor to go from trying in vain to name the third agency of government he would shutter as president to giving up and muttering—in a phrase that will surely go down . . . as [his campaign’s] perfect epitaph—’Oops.'”

Politics & Policy|
June 3, 2014

Perry and the Threat of a Special Session

Rick Perry and the House appear to be on a collision course. The chatter is increasing around the Capitol that if the Transparency Committee continues on its course to impeach Wallace Hall, the governor will call the Legislature into a series of special sessions this summer, presumably on transportation.I don’t

The Daily Post|
April 4, 2014

A Special Prosecutor Is Investigating Governor Perry’s Decision To Cut Funding To The Public Integrity Unit

Special prosecutor Michael McCrum is "very troubled" about the way the Governor made good on his promise to pull funding for the unit if its head, embattled Travis County district attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, failed to resign her position.

Politics & Policy|
November 8, 2013

The Irrelevant Governor

Public Policy Polling’s most recent survey shows that Rick Perry has virtually no support for president among Texans. Indeed, he is so poorly regarded that he would lose a head-to-head matchup with Hillary Clinton.The days when Perry was actually relevant are long gone. No one pays any attention

Politics & Policy|
October 3, 2013

Perry v. Obama

Yesterday Rick Perry called the Affordable Care Act, “a criminal act.” This is an example of why Perry will never be president. He has a mean streak a mile wide. Readers will recall that he attacked the Fed’s Bernanke in a menacing manner during a stump speech leading

Politics & Policy|
May 16, 2013

Williams, Perry, and the Budget

This morning I wrote about the prospects for a budget deal, the topic du jour that is uppermost in everyone’s mind. The post contained, among other comments, this line: “House Democrats complained that Senate budget chief Tommy Williams had ‘misled’ them.” That is what I was told by

May 16, 2013

The Smile Machine

Perry and his pals celebrated the release of the first precision-guided firearms at the Mason ranch of TrackingPoint founder John McHale.

Politics & Policy|
May 16, 2013

Things Fall Apart

As we tweeted last night as events were rapidly developing, the hopes for a budget deal that would send everyone home happy appeared to evaporate yesterday. House Democrats complained that Senate budget chief Tommy Williams had “misled” them. Dewhurst showed up in the House chamber and disappeared into the back

Politics & Policy|
April 24, 2013

Perry’s Response to West

Gov. Rick Perry said Monday that spending more state money on inspections would not have prevented the deadly explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. plant that was last investigated by Texas environmental regulators in 2006. Excuse me for asking, but … how would Perry know? You

Politics & Policy|
April 19, 2013

Perry’s Tax Cut

At a press conference on Monday, Governor Perry called for $1.6 billion in business tax cuts–including 5 percent off the margins tax–in an attempt to make good on his promise for “tax relief” this session. What does this prove? That Perry never seems to run out of bad ideas.In fact,

Politics & Policy|
April 12, 2013

Road to Somewhere?

At last, Rick Perry has decided to back more spending on transportation. His plan, which  was developed by a group of trade associations (Realtors, Texas Association of Business, Texas Oil and Gas Association, and Texas Motor Transport Association) and announced today at a meeting of the Texas Lyceum, calls for

Politics & Policy|
April 12, 2013

Perry: Due for a Comeback?

Wayne Slater has a piece in the Morning News today that touts Rick Perry’s viability for a political comeback. His thesis is that Americans love a good comeback story, and he cites the examples of former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford and former New York congressman Anthony Weiner.

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