Rick Perry

Photo
  • Status: 
  • Current Title: Governor of Texas
  • Party Affiliation: 
  • Age: 
  • Birthplace: Paint Creek, TX
  • Religion: Methodist
  • Alma Mater: Texas A&M (BA)
  • Website: http://www.rickperry.org

Perry is the Governor of Texas and chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Known for his competitive streak, he has never lost an election and is the longest-serving governor in Texas history. An outspoken anti-Washington conservative, Perry was an early supporter of the low-tax, limited-government Tea Party movement. He is also popular among social and religious conservatives.

His father was a rancher from Paint Creek, Texas, who served on the local school board and Haskell County Commission as a Democrat. Following his father’s path, in 1985 he won a seat in the Texas House after running as a Democrat from his home district.

In 1989, he switched to the Republican Party and quickly climbed up the ranks of Texas politics from the House of Representatives to agriculture commissioner, lieutenant governor and then governor in 2000 when George W. Bush left for the White House.

Perry is a rancher who earned a degree in animal science from Texas A&M University in 1972. He served five years in the U.S. Air Force and was a C-130 pilot. He met his wife, Anita, in elementary school. They married in 1982 and have two children – Griffin and Sydney. In 2009, Perry caused a stir by openly pondering his state's secession from the United States. “We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it,” Perry said standing at Austin city hall addressing supporters. “But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that."

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Perry on the Issues

  • Perry’s jobs plan revolves around energy: by overhauling what he calls "job killing" environmental regulations and expanding the U.S. energy market, he says he can create 1.2 million-2.5 million new jobs.

  • Perry champions a Texas program that allows children of undocumented workers to pay in-state college tuition. But the answer to the failures of federal border policies, he says, is not to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants.

  • Perry has said that the "best advice" he would give to Occupy Wall Street protesters is that "money is probably the most highly overrated thing in the world from the standpoint of really being happy with your life." Perry has aligned himself with the Tea Party, noting in his book that the “Tea Party movement began in earnest as the result of boiling frustration among Americans, triggered by the dramatic expansion of government into their private affairs through bailouts and so-called stimulus plans.”

  • Perry proposes expanding oil exploration offshore and on land by executive order, which he says will create more than a million new jobs, and advocates the rejection of “activist EPA regulations.”

  • Perry says his opposition to abortion rights is not an "election-year slogan." He also says he vows to end the encroachment of federal government into private affairs.

  • Perry has called Social Security a Ponzi scheme and says states should design their own Social Security programs. But he believes that benefits for retirees and those nearing retirement should be protected.

  • Perry seeks to limit government spending to 18 percent of GDP, implement a freeze on federal hiring and salaries, eliminate earmarks, and ban government bailouts – moves he says would balance the budget in less than a decade. Perry also favors a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.

  • Perry says the U.S. should maintain a "presence" in Afghanistan but that a quick military withdrawal is needed. He has suggested U.S. troops be sent to Mexico if drug violence there gets worse. Perry would eliminate all foreign aid –“every country is going to start at zero dollars” -- and then reallocate depending on each country’s support for the U.S. He would also fortify the border with fencing, human patrols, and “unmanned aerial assets.

  • Perry says he would repeal Obama’s healthcare legislation, entrust the states with Medicaid, and reform Medicare by raising the age of eligibility and allocating benefits based a recipient’s income.

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