Rick Perry

Rick Perry

Infobox Governor
name = Rick Perry

order = 47th
office = Governor of Texas
term_start = December 21 2000
term_end =
lieutenant = Bill Ratliff (acting; 2000-2003) David Dewhurst (2003-present)
predecessor = George W. Bush
successor = Incumbent
order2 = 44th
office2 = Lieutenant Governor of Texas
term_start2 = January 17 1999
term_end2 = December 21 2000
governor2 = George W. Bush
predecessor2 = Bob Bullock
successor2 = Bill Ratliff (acting)
birth_date = birth date and age |1950|03|4
birth_place = Paint Creek, Texas
residence = Austin, Texas
spouse = Anita Thigpen Perry
profession = Political aide, legislator
alma_mater = Texas A&M University
party = Republican (1989-present) Democratic (1968-1989)
religion = Methodist
footnotes = Perry was succeeded by Bill Ratliff in the Lt. Governor's post by a vote of the Texas Senate in which Ratliff served until the election and inauguration of David Dewhurst. See related articles for details.

James Richard "Rick" Perry (born March 4, 1950) is a Republican politician and the current Governor of Texas.

He assumed office in December 2000 when George W. Bush resigned to prepare for his inauguration as President of the United States. Perry was elected to full terms in 2002 and 2006.

On November 30, 2007, Perry was named the 2008 chairman of the Republican Governors Association. He succeeds Sonny Perdue of Georgia.

If he serves a full second term, Perry would become the longest serving governor in Texas history, with ten years of uninterrupted service. This would break the record held by Republican Bill Clements (eight years, over two non-consecutive terms). Perry has already broken the record of Democrat Allan Shivers (7.5 years of consecutive service) as of June 2008.

Early life

A fifth-generation Texan, Perry was born in tiny Paint Creek, sixty miles north of Abilene in West Texas, to ranchers Joseph Ray Perry and the former Amelia June Holt. His father, a Democrat, was a long-time Haskell County commissioner and school board member. As a child, Perry was in the boy scouts and earned the rank of Eagle Scout, as did his son.cite web |url=http://www.governor.state.tx.us/about|title=Rick Perry |publisher=Office of the Governor |accessdate=2006-11-08] cite web |last-Lucas |first=Fred |url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Eagle_Scouts_%28Boy_Scouts_of_America%29#_note-PerryEagle|title=Texas Governor Urges Protection for Boy Scouts of America |publisher=CNS News |accessdate=2008-02-11] cite web |title=Boy Scouts Honor Gov. and Mrs. Perry with Distinguished Citizen Award |url=http://www.rickperry.org/news/article/191 |publisher=Rick Perry.org |accessdate=2007-08-10] Perry graduated from Paint Creek High School.

Perry attended Texas A&M University where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and one of A&M's yell leaders. He graduated from A&M in 1972 with a degree in animal science. While at Texas A&M University Perry successfully completed a static line skydive at Ags Over Texas (a United States Parachute Association dropzone), the dropzone that was then in operation at Coulter Field (KCFD) in Bryan.

Upon graduation, he was commissioned in the United States Air Force, completed pilot training and flew C-130 tactical airlift in the United States, the Middle East, and Europe until 1977. He left the Air Force with the rank of captain, returned to Texas and went into business farming cotton with his father.

In 1982, Perry married Anita Thigpen, his childhood sweetheart whom he had known since elementary school. They have two children, Griffin (who followed his father's footsteps and also became an Eagle Scout) and Sydney. Anita Perry attended West Texas State University and has a degree in nursing. She has spearheaded a number of health-related initiatives such as the Anita Thigpen Perry Endowment at the San Antonio Health Science Center, which focuses on nutrition, cardiovascular disease, health education, and early childhood programming.

To the Texas legislature

Perry has said that his interest in politics probably began in November 1961, when, at the age of eleven, his father took him to the funeral of the legendary Sam Rayburn, who during his long public career served as Speaker of the Texas House and the U.S. House. Dignitaries from all over the nation descended on the small town of Bonham, the seat of Fannin County for the official farewell to Rayburn.

In 1982, Perry was elected to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat from a district that included his home county of Haskell. He served on the important House Appropriations and Calendars committees during his three terms. One of the freshman legislators that he befriended was Lena Guerrero of Austin, a staunch Democratic liberal who surprisingly endorsed Perry's reelection bid in 2006 on personal, rather than philosophical grounds. Perry was part of the "Pit Bulls," a group of Appropriations members who sat on the lower dais in the committee room (or "pit") who pushed for austere state budgets during the lean 1980s. In 1989, "The Dallas Morning News" named him one of the most effective legislators in the 71st legislature. In 1989, Perry announced that he was joining the Republican Party.

As agriculture commissioner (1991-1999)

In 1990, he challenged incumbent Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower. Hightower had worked for Jesse Jackson for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988, while Perry had supported U.S. Senator Al Gore of Tennessee. He narrowly unseated Hightower, even as the Republican gubernatorial candidate Clayton Wheat Williams, Jr., went down to defeat at the hands of Dorothy Ann Willis Richards. [http://www.stateline.org/live/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=136&languageId=1&contentId=14215 New Faces Replace Washington-Bound Governors ] ]

As agriculture commissioner, Perry was responsible for promoting the sale of Texas farm produce to other states and foreign nations and supervising the calibration of weights and measures, such as gasoline pumps and grocery store scales.

In 1994, Perry was reelected agriculture commissioner by a large margin, having polled 2,546,287 votes (61.92 percent) to Democrat Marvin Gregory's 1,479,692 (35.98 percent). Libertarian Clyde L. Garland received the remaining 85,836 votes (2.08 percent).http://elections.sos.state.tx.us/]

As lieutenant governor, 1999-2000

In 1998, Perry ran not for agriculture commissioner but for lieutenant governor to succeed the retiring Democrat Bob Bullock. Perry polled 1,858,837 votes (50.04 percent) to the 1,790,106 (48.19 percent) cast for Democrat John Sharp of Victoria, who relinquished the comptroller's position after two terms to seek the lieutenant governorship. Libertarian Anthony Garcia polled another 65,150 votes (1.75 percent).


Perry assumed the governorship late in 2000 when George W. Bush resigned to prepare for his presidential inauguration. Perry won the office in his own right in 2002, when he defeated the Laredo businessman Antonio R. "Tony" Sanchez, Jr. In the 2002 general election, Perry polled 2,632,591 votes (57.80 percent) to Sanchez's 1,819,798 (39.96 percent). Four minor candidates shared some 2.21 percent of the vote.

In the general election held on November 7, 2006, Perry defeated former Congressman Chris Bell, a Democrat from Houston; James Werner, a Libertarian sales consultant; and two independent candidates, outgoing Republican Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Richard "Kinky" Friedman, a country singer. Perry polled 1,714,618 votes (39 percent) to Bell's 1,309,774 (29.8 percent), Strayhorn's 789,432 (18 percent), Friedman's 553,327 (12.6 percent), and Werner's 26,726 (0.6 percent). Perry is the first governor since 1861 to have been elected by a plurality of less than 40 percent. (There was a similar plurality winner in 1853.)

Perry is the first graduate of Texas A&M to serve as Governor of Texas. In addition to the Republican Governors Association, Perry is by default a member of the National Governors Association, the Western Governors Association, and the Southern Governors Association.

Early in his term as governor Perry worked to make health care more accessible. he pushed through the CHIP program designed to insure 500,000 children. He convinced the legislature to increase health funding by $6 billion.Fact|date=December 2007 Some of these programs have since faced funding problems. He also increased school funding prior to the 2002 election and created new scholarship programs to help needy children, including $300 million for the Texas GRANT Scholarship Program.Fact|date=December 2007 Some $9 billion was allocated to Texas public schools, colleges, and universities and combined with a new emphasis on accountability for both teachers and students.Fact|date=December 2007

Perry's lieutenant governor and governor campaigns focused on a tough stance on crime. In June 2002, he vetoed a ban on the execution of mentally retarded inmates. He has also supported block grants for crime programs.

Another element of Perry's platform has been tort reform; as lieutenant governor he had tried and failed to place a limit on class action awards and allowing plaintiffs to distribute awards among several liable sources. In 2003, Perry sponsored a controversial state constitutional amendment to Fact|date=February 2007 cap medical malpractice rewards; this proposal was narrowly approved by voters.

This legislation has resulted in a decrease in malpractice insurance rates and a marked increase in the number of doctors seeking certification [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/05/us/05doctors.html More Doctors in Texas After Malpractice Caps - New York Times ] ] to practice in Texas, bringing skilled practitioners to areas of the state long in need of quality care.

Fiscal issues

Perry, a proclaimed proponent of fiscal conservatism, has often campaigned on tax reform and job growth. Perry resisted state income taxes and sales tax increases, protected the state's "Rainy Day fund", balanced the state budget as required by state law, and was reelected on a platform to to reduce property taxes that exploded with the inflation of property values in the late 1990s and the 21st century. However, shortly after taking office, he backed down from the reduction of residential property taxes. He has been creditedWho|date=September 2008 with attracting thousands of jobs to Texas in recent years. Fact|date=December 2007

In early 2006 Perry angered many fiscal conservatives in his own party by supporting an increase in the state franchise tax alongside a property tax reform bill. Many organizations within the Republican Party itself condemned Perry's tax bill, HB-3, and likened it to a "back door" state income tax. [ [http://rightoftexas.wordpress.com/2006/05/16/harris-county-gop-passes-resolution-against-hb3-2/ Harris County GOP Passes Resolution Against HB3 « Right Of Texas ] ] Perry claimed in a statewide advertising campaign that the bill would save the average taxpayer $2,000 in property taxes. Critics contended that Perry inflated these numbers. The actual tax savings, they contend, will average only $150 per family. [ [http://www.burntorangereport.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=959 Burnt Orange Report::: Perry's Deceptive Advertising Analyzed by the Lone Star Project ] ]

In 2003, Perry signed legislation that created the Texas Enterprise Fund ostensibly to enhance the development of the economy of Texas a top priority. His sales tax cuts have attracted new retail businesses to Texas, but in recent years his tax relief has come under scrutiny for having sapped strength from government programs, particularly education. In 2004, Texas ranked 49 in percentage of residents having completed high school [ [http://www.statemaster.com/graph/edu_per_of_peo_who_hav_com_hig_sch_inc_equ-completed-high-school-including-equivalency] ] and number 42 in physical exercise. [ [http://www.statemaster.com/graph/hea_phy_exe-health-physical-exercise] ]

Perry has faced considerable resistance in balancing fiscal conservatism, education equity, and the politics of school finance. As lieutenant governor, he initially sponsored a controversial school vouchers bill as an alternative to the "Robin Hood" school finance proposal. In 2004, Perry attacked the same "Robin Hood" plan as detrimental to the educational system. He attempted to get the legislature to abolish the system and replace it with one that he believed would encourage greater equity, cost less, hold down property and sales taxes, and foster job growth. Perry objected to the legalization of video lottery terminals at racetracks and on Indian reservations as well as increases in cigarette taxes.

In 2003, Perry called three consecutive special legislative sessions to procure a congressional redistricting plan more favorable to Republicans. The plan finally adopted, supported by then U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Sugar Land, brought about a five-seat Republican gain in the delegation. In 2006, however, the five-seat edge was reduced to three seats. Spokesmen for minority groups claimed that the plan was designed to reduce the legislative clouts of African Americans and Hispanic voters.

A special session of the legislature was convened on June 21 2005, to address education issues, but resistance developed from House Speaker Tom Craddick, a Republican from Midland. Perry's proposal was attacked by members from property-poor districts and was rejected. During the session, Perry became involved in a heated debate with Comptroller Carole Strayhorn about the merits of his school finance proposal. Strayhorn initially planned to oppose Perry in the 2006 Republican primary but instead ran as an independent in the general election.http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050618/ap_on_re_us/texas_governor_s_race] Another special session was convened on July 21 2005 after Perry vetoed all funding for public schools for the 2007-2008 biennium. He vowed not to "approve an education budget that shortchanges teacher salary increases, textbooks, education technology, and education reforms. And I cannot let $2 billion sit in some bank account when it can go directly to the classroom."

Perry's campaign office in 2006 declared that without the special session, some "$2 billion that had been intended for teacher pay raises, education reforms, and other school priorities would have gone unused because House Bill 2 [the public school reform package] didn’t pass." [http://www.rickperry.org/news/display.php?id=11] The bill failed to pass in the first session, and was refiled in a second session, in which the bill was defeated 62-79, after 50 amendments were added without discussion or debate.http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/hjrnl/792/html/79c2day03final.htm]

Late in 2005, as approval of his governorship sunk to all-time lows in public opinion polls, Perry requested assistance from his former lieutenant-governor rival, John Sharp, who is a former Texas State Comptroller and a member of the Texas Railroad Commission, Texas State Senate and Texas House of Representatives, to head an education task force charged with preparing a bipartisan education plan. The special session convened on April 17 2006. Sharp accepted Perry's offer and removed himself as a potential candidate for governor in 2006. The task force issued its final plan several months later, and the legislature adopted it. [http://www.governor.state.tx.us/priorities/tax_reform/TTRC_report/files/TTRC_report.pdf] For his successful efforts, Sharp was later nominated by the "Dallas Morning News" for the "Texan of the Year" award. [ [http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/texanofyear/stories/DN-toy4_27edi.ART.State.Edition1.3e5fbfa.html Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Opinion: DMN 2005 Texan of the Year ] ]

ocial Conservatism

In 2005, Perry, a social conservative, signed an abortion bill that limits late term abortions and requires girls under the age of eighteen who procure abortions to notify their parents. Under criticism from abortion advocates, Perry signed the bill in the gymnasium of Calvary Christian Academy in Fort Worth, an evangelical Christian school.

Perry is also known for his socially conservative views on homosexuality. He condemned the United States Supreme Court decision in "Lawrence vs. Texas" striking down sodomy laws and called Texas' last such law "appropriate." [http://www.sodomylaws.org/usa/usnews52.htm Perry Calls Sodomy Law ‘Appropriate’ ] ]

Record use of vetoes

Perry set a record in the 2001 legislative session for the use of the veto: he rejected legislation a total of eighty-two times, more than any other governor in any single legislative session in the history of the state since Reconstruction. Perry's use of the veto drew criticism from both parties in the 2002 gubernatorial campaign, having used the veto only nine fewer times than preceding Governor George W. Bush had during three legislative sessions and twenty-two more than Ann Richards cast in two sessions. [http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/html/exec/0502.html Texas Politics - The Executive Branch ] ] In the two legislative sessions since the 2001 session, Perry was more conservative in his use of the veto, employing it only fifty-one times. [http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/html/exec/governors/index.html Texas Politics - Governors ] ] However, as of 2005, he has used the veto more than any other Texas governor in a continuous administration; the only governor who exceeded Perry's total was Bill Clements, who faced a heavily Democratic legislature. Clements vetoed legislation 184 times in eight years: Perry, 132 times in five years.

upreme Court Justice Steve Smith

Perry has made numerous appointments to the Texas courts, the Railroad Commission, as secretary of state, and to other boards and commissions during his tenure as governor. One of his first selections was the appointment of Xavier Rodriguez to succeed Greg Abbott on the Texas Supreme Court. Rodriguez, who called himself a moderate, was quickly unseated in the 2002 Republican primary by conservative Steven Wayne Smith, the attorney in the "Hopwood v. Texas" suit in 1996, which successfully challenged affirmative action at the University of Texas Law School. Hopwood, however, was overturned in a 2003 decision stemming from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Steven Smith was elected by a comfortable margin over Democratic opposition in the 2002 general election.

Perry objected to Smith's tenure on the court and refused to meet with the new justice when Smith attempted to mend fences with the governor. Perry encouraged Judge Paul Green to challenge Smith in the 2004 Republican primary. Perry fundraised for Green,Fact|date=September 2008 who defeated Smith in the primary and was then elected without opposition in the general election. Smith attempted a comeback in the 2006 Republican primary by challenging Justice Don Willett, another Perry appointee who was considered a conservative on the court. Smith polled 49.5 percent of the primary vote, but Willett narrowly prevailed.

Trans-Texas Corridor

In an effort to improve the state's infrastructure to accommodate a population that has grown at a rate of more than 1,000 people per day, Perry has been the lead proponent of the Trans-Texas Corridor, a $145+ billion-dollar project that would encompass multi-lane highways, rail and utilities, speeding the movement of people, products and power across the state. Rather than place constrictive tax burdens on businesses and citizens, the project was proposed to be partially financed, partially built and wholly operated by private contractors who, in exchange for a multi-billion dollar investment, will receive all toll proceeds, notably Cintra, a Spanish-owned company, and its minority partner, San Antonio-based Zachry Construction Corporation, one of Texas' largest road construction companies [cite web |url=http://ttc.keeptexasmoving.com/faqs/?faq_type=3 |title=Trans-Texas Corridor: FAQs |publisher=Texas Department of Transporation |year=2004 |accessdate=2008-06-26] . Some of the more controversial aspects of the project include tolls, private operation of toll collections (at rates set by local municipalities), and extensive use of eminent domain (or the option for landowners to maintain a lucrative equity stake in the project) to acquire property.Perry has come under fire for opposing the public release of the actual terms of the 50-year deal with Cintra to the public for fear they would chill the possibility of the company's investment; Perry's former liaison to the legislature and expert in public-private partnership, former State Senator Dan Shelly, returned to his consulting/lobbying work with Cintra after securing the TTC deal while on the state payroll. All of Perry's gubernatorial opponents opposed thecorridor project. The 2006 state party platforms of both the Democratic and Republicans parties also opposed the current corridor legislation. [cite web |url=http://www.texasgop.org/site/DocServer/Platform_Updated.pdf?docID=2001 |title=2006 STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY PLATFORM |publisher=Texas Republican Party |format=PDF |year=2006 |accessdate=2008-06-26] [cite web |url=http://txdems.bluestatedigital.com/page/-/Party%20Platforms/2006%20TDP%20platform.pdf |title=2006 Texas Democratic Party Platform |format=PDF |year=2006 |accessdate=2008-06-26]

In 2001, Perry appointed Ric Williamson of Weatherford, an old friend, former legislative colleague and innovator, to the Texas Transportation Commission. Williamson became the commission chairman in 2004 and worked for TTC until his sudden death of a heart attack on December 30, 2007.

In 2007 Governor Perry endorsed Rudy Giuliani for President. Many found this to be strange considering the two differed on many issues. It has been speculated that the endorsement came because Giuliani's law firm represents Cintra, the Spanish owned company connected to the Trans Texas Corridor 35 project. Fact|date=June 2008

Death penalty

Rick Perry supports the death penalty. [cite web|url=http://www.newsweek.com/id/69546/output/print |title=Injection of Reflection |last=Thomas |first=Evan |coauthors=Martha Brant |publisher=Newsweek |date=2007-11-10 |accessdate=2008-06-22] Perry has been criticized by anti-death penalty groups including some human rights organizations worldwide. Under Texas law, the Board of Pardon and Parole must make a recommendation to commute such a sentence, which the Governor is free to ignore, but the reverse is not truendash if the Board does not make such a recommendation the Governor cannot then commute the sentence. The only power the Governor has is to issue one, 30-day reprieve.

However, the chairman of the board is appointed by the governor, and serves at his pleasure.cite web|url=http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=37&pt=5&ch=141&rl=1|title=Texas Administrative Code|accessdate=2008-06-10|publisher=State of Texas] Also, all the members of the Parole Board have been appointed by the incumbent Governor of Texas.cite web|url=http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/bpp/brd_members/brd_members.html|title=Year of Appointment of Board Members|accessdate=2008-06-10|publisher=State of Texas] The mission statement for the work of the board is laid down after consultation with the Governor and the procedures and policies of the Board are to a great extent decided by the chairperson the Governor has chosen; the chairman also decides which Board members are to serve when an individual case is decided.cite web|url=http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=37&pt=5&ch=141&rl=3|title=Texas Administrative Code|accessdate=2008-06-10|publisher=State of Texas]

Pardons and Commutations

In 2005, Frances Newton's appeal for a commutation of her death penalty was declined, although some allege that there was insufficient evidence to convict. Her attorney had also argued Newton was incapable of standing trial. Newton was executed on September 14, 2005. The Board of Pardon and Parole did not recommend a commutation, thus Perry could not do so himself, and chose not to grant the one-time reprieve.

Tyrone Brown was an African-American who was sentenced to life in a Texas maximum security prison in 1990 for smoking marijuana while on probation. Texas Judge Keith Dean had originally placed Brown on probation but changed the sentence after Brown tested positive for marijuana. After being defeated in the last Dallas election, Judge Dean requested the governor pardon Brown. On March 9 2007, Perry (upon approval of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles) granted Brown a conditional pardon (under Texas law Perry could not grant a pardon without the Board's consent). [cite web
title=Inmate Given Life After Drug Use Is Pardoned in Texas
publisher=Associated Press / New York Times

On August 30 2007, Perry commuted the death sentence of Kenneth Foster, an accomplice in a 1996 slaying. Evidence had shown that while Foster was present at the scene of the crime (transporting the individual who actually committed the crime away from the scene in his car), he had nothing to do with the actual commission of the murder, and, for that matter, may not have even been aware that it had been taking place, as he was outside in his car at the time. The Board of Pardon and Parole had recommended the commutation, and Perry chose to convert the sentence to life in prison, with a possibility of parole in 2037, doing so three hours before Foster was to die by lethal injection. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/31/us/31execute.html Governor Commutes Sentence in Texas - New York Times ] ]

Environmental issues

Texas-based TXU is planning a $10 billion investment in eleven new coal-fired power plants over the next several years. In 2006, Perry fast-tracked the permitting process and limited the time frame for public comment on this proposal. [ [http://www.cutco2.org/2006/11/rick-perry-on-texas-barbeque-yeeehaw.html Cut CO2 - You Can Help Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions ] ]

Views on non-Christians

In what was described as a "God and country" sermon at the Cornerstone church in San Antonio, attended by Perry and other mostly Republican candidates, the Rev. John Hagee stated, "If you live your life and don't confess your sins to God Almighty through the authority of Christ and His blood, I'm going to say this very plainly, you're going straight to hell with a nonstop ticket." Perry was asked if he agreed with those comments and said, "It is my faith, and I'm a believer of that." [cite news |url=http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/110606dnTSWperry.351c57c.html |title=Perry believes non-Christians doomed |publisher=Dallas Morning News |date=2006-11-06 ] Perry went on to say that there was nothing in the sermon that he took exception with. Perry said he believes in the inerrancy of the Bible and those who reject Jesus Christ as their Saviour will go to hell. Condemnation from his opponents was swift. Kinky Friedman, the Jewish independent candidate for governor said, "He doesn't think very differently from the Taliban, does he?" Carole Keeton Strayhorn disagreed with Perry's comments, and Democrat Chris Bell said that one who is in public office should "respect people of all faiths and denominations." [ [http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/110606dnTSWperry.351c57c.html Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Texas Southwest ] ]

Inauguration concert controversy

Perry invited his friend, rocker Ted Nugent, to perform at a black-tie gala hours after Perry's second inauguration ceremony. Using machine guns as props, and with skulls adorned with head dresses representing dead Native Americans, Nugent appeared onstage during the inaugural ball wearing a cutoff T-shirt emblazoned with the Confederate flag and shouting offensive remarks about non-English speakers, according to press reports. [Yahoo! Music News. "Rocker's Inaugural Act Creates Stir." January 18, 2007. [http://music.yahoo.com/read/news/12438482] ] The NAACP condemned Nugent's flying of the Confederate flag as a symbol of "the enslavement of African-Americans and more recently the symbol of hate groups and terrorists". [Yahoo! Music News. "Rocker's Inaugural Act Creates Stir." January 18, 2007.] [ [http://music.yahoo.com/read/news/12438482 Ted Nugent News on Yahoo! Music ] ] Nugent denied making any racial comments. [ [http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A9htfMOX18NFh3cAJxbQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTBjcXBoZjEwBHBvcwMzBHNlYwNzcg--/SIG=12q1n9mdg/EXP=1170549015/**http%3a//abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story%3fsection=entertainment%26id=4974784 Ted Nugent controversy] ]

HPV vaccine

On February 2 2007, Perry issued an executive order mandating that Texas girls be vaccinated with Gardasil, a newly approved drug manufactured by Merck that protects against some strains of the human papilloma virus which causes cervical cancer. The move made national headlines. [cite news |url=http://www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9264314
title=Monkey and other business |publisher="The Economist" |date=2007-05-31 |accessdate=2007-07-30

Perry's move has been criticized by some social conservatives and some parents due to concerns about the moral implications of the vaccine and safety concerns. On February 22, 2007, a group of families sued in an attempt to block Gov. Perry's executive order. [ [http://newsmax.com/archives/articles/2007/2/25/111903.shtml Texas Families Seek to Block Gov's Order ] ] Several financial connections between Merck and Rick Perry have been reported by news outlets, such as a $6,000 campaign contribution, as well as Merck's hiring of former Perry Chief of Staff Mike Toomey to handle its Texas lobby work. [ [http://www.statesman.com/news/content/region/legislature/stories/02/22/22perry.html Perry's staff discussed vaccine on day Merck donated to campaign ] ]

Adding to the criticism of Perry's order is what is viewed by some as a high price of the vaccine which is approximately $US360 in Texas. [cite news |url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/02/AR2007020201528.html
title=Texas Gov. Orders Anti-Cancer Vaccine |last=PETERSON |first=LIZ AUSTIN |publisher=Washington Post |date=2007-02-02 |accessdate=2007-02-02
] Gardasil is a patent-restricted vaccine and Merck is the sole producer.

On May 9 2007, Perry allowed a bill to go into law that would undo his executive order. [ [http://www.statesman.com/news/content/region/legislature/stories/05/09/9hpv.html Perry lets HPV bill go into law ] ]

A year later, a CDC report detailing runaway STD rates in American teenage girls and the deadly effects of the HPV virus had opponents reconsidering their attacks on Perry's effort. [ [http://prairiepundit.blogspot.com/2008/03/gov-perry-was-right-on-hpv-vacine-for.html Houston Chronicle Editorial] ]

Bilderberg Group meeting

Perry attended the 2007 meeting of the secretive Bilderberg Group in Istanbul, Turkey. [cite news |url=http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/world/stories/DN-perry_31tex.ART.State.Edition1.43b926a.html
title=Perry off to secret forum in Turkey |last=HOPPE |first=CHRISTY |publisher=The Dallas Morning News |date=2007-05-31 |accessdate=2007-06-22
] The Bilderberg conferences are meetings of influential persons in the fields of business, media and politics, and have been the subject of a number of conspiracy theories.Fact|date=September 2008

Fire at Texas Governor's Mansion

On June 8, 2008, the 152-year-old historic state governor's residence was swept by a fire the local authorities suspected was a result of arson. The mansion, which was undergoing renovation, had no occupants at the time (Perry and his family had been living elsewhere since the previous fall). Because the fire occurred outside of working hours, no workers were inside and much of the building was badly damaged. [Star-Ledger Wire Services, "Arson eyed in fire at historic Texas governor's mansion," The Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey), June 9, 2008, p. 11] Governor Perry himself was in Stockholm, Sweden at the time of the fire.

Political future

Should he complete his current term, Perry will have been in office for over ten consecutive years (the remainder of George W. Bush's second term after he left to become President, plus two elected full terms). This would make him the longest serving Governor of Texas in terms of both "total" time in office and "continuous" time in office (Bill Clements holds the record for total time in office; barring any unexpected events, Perry will surpass Clements' total time record in January 2009). Allan Shivers previously held the continuous time record at 7.5 years until Perry surpassed it in June 2008.

Texas does not impose term limits on its governors; thus, Perry is free to run for a third full term in 2010, and in April 2008, Perry announced his intent to run for reelection. [ [http://www.star-telegram.com/804/story/589097.html Gov. Perry says he'll run again in 2010 | Top Stories | Star-Telegram.com ] ] There is considerable speculation that U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has announced she will not run for another term in 2012 and could retire before then, will also run for Governor in 2010, setting up a primary challenge to Perry.

He has never publicly indicated aspirations to the Senate or any other higher office; however, in April 2008 while appearing as a guest on CNBC's Kudlow & Company he specifically stated that he would not agree to serve as Vice President in a McCain Administration, stating that he already had "the best job in the world" as Governor of Texas.

2008 Presidential endorsements

In October 2007, despite their political differences on many social issues, he endorsed Rudy Giuliani for President. "Rudy Giuliani is the most prepared individual of either party to be the next President ... I'm not talkin' about any mayor, I'm talkin' about America's Mayor," Perry said. [ [http://www.nydailynews.com/news/wn_report/2007/10/18/2007-10-18_texas_governor_rick_perry_endorses_rudy_.html Texas governor Rick Perry endorses Rudy Giuliani ] ] Many conjectured that, if Giuliani were elected, Perry might have been considered for a position in the new President's cabinet, or perhaps the Vice Presidency. [ [http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/101807dntexperry.17bf40158.html Texas governor Rick Perry endorses Giuliani] Dallas News, Oct. 17, 2007] However, Giuliani withdrew from the race on January 30, 2008 after failing to gain support in early primaries.

Both Giuliani and Perry immediately endorsed Arizona Senator John McCain for President. [ [http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/APStories/stories/D8UH52P00.html Perry Picks McCain Day After Giuliani's Withdrawal] Dallas Morning News, Jan. 31, 2008] Shortly after Mitt Romney's somewhat unexpected withdrawal from the race in early February, the Governor reportedlyFact|date=May 2008 called McCain rival Mike Huckabee and suggested that he withdraw as well to clear the way for McCain to secure the nomination. Huckabee declined this request and made it clear publicly that he would only abandon his presidential bid if McCain secured enough delegates. Huckabee withdrew his presidential bid on March 5, 2008 after John McCain won the Texas and Ohio primaries.


Rick Perry's first book, "" was published in February 2008 while he was serving his second term as governor. [cite book |last=Perry |first=Rick |title=On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts are Worth Fighting For |publisher=Stroud & Hall |year=2008 |month=February |isbn=978-0979646225] In his book, he criticized the ACLU for its attacks on the Boy Scouts of America. [cite news |title=In first book, Perry criticizes ACLU and defends Boy Scouts |url=http://www.statesman.com/news/content/region/legislature/stories/02/09/0209perrybook.html |last=Selby |first=W. Gardner |publisher=Austin American-Statesman |date=2008-02-09 |accessdate=2008-06-22]

Electoral history

Election box candidate with party link
party = Republican Party (US)
candidate = Rick Perry (Incumbent)
votes = 2,617,106
percentage = 58.1
change =
Election box candidate with party link
party = Democratic Party (US)
candidate = Tony Sanchez
votes = 1,809,915
percentage = 40.3
change =

Election box candidate with party link
party = Republican Party (US)
candidate = Rick Perry (Incumbent)
votes = 1,716,803
percentage = 39.3
change = -18.8
Election box candidate with party link
party = Democratic Party (US)
candidate = Chris Bell
votes = 1,310,353
percentage = 29.8
change = -10.5
Election box candidate
party = Independent
candidate = Carole Keeton Strayhorn
votes = 797,577
percentage = 18.1
change =
Election box candidate
party = Independent
candidate = Richard “Kinky” Friedman
votes = 546,869
percentage = 12.4
change =
Election box candidate
party = Libertarian
candidate = James Werner
votes = 133,806
percentage = 1.8
change =


External links

* [http://www.governor.state.tx.us/ Texas Governor Rick Perry official state website]
** [http://www.governor.state.tx.us/about Biography]
* [http://www.votimus.com/user/Candidate_nonmember.aspx?UID=10180&UT=3 Rick Perry's Votimus Profile]
* [http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?si=200643&c=418918 Follow the Money - 2006 campaign contributions to Perry]
* [http://www.ontheissues.org/Rick_Perry.htm On the Issues - Rick Perry's issue positions and quotes]
* [http://www.vote-smart.org/bio.php?can_id=BTX57306 Project Vote Smart - Governor Rick Perry profile]
* [http://www.rickperry.org/ Perry for Governor's official campaign site]
* [http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/vol18/issue39/pols.perry.html Heir to the Throne, Jenny Staff, "Austin Chronicle" May 28, 1999]
* [http://www.txcn.com/s/dws/wfaa/skofler/stories/wfaa030513_am_ausrepublicans.1731a998.html Continued absence of Dems grinds House to a halt]
* [http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=oid%3A198946 The Class of 1985", Austin Chronicle (2/27/2004)]

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