Rick Perry

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Rick Perry
Rick Perry.jpg
Governor of Texas
Former officeholder
In office
December 21, 2000 - January 20, 2015
PredecessorGeorge W. Bush
Base salary$150,000
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 5, 2002
Campaign $$123,656,242
Term limitsNone
Prior offices
Lieutenant Governor of Texas
1998 - December 2000
Texas Agriculture Commissioner
1990 - 1998
Texas House of Representatives
1984 - 1990
High schoolPaint Creek High School
Bachelor'sTexas A&M University (1972)
Military service
Service/branchU.S Air Force
Years of service1972 - 1977
Date of birthMarch 4, 1950
Place of birthPaint Creek, Texas
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
James Richard Perry (b. March 4, 1950, in Paint Creek, Texas) is a Republican politician and the former Governor of Texas. He assumed office December 2000 when then-Governor George W. Bush resigned to prepare for his inauguration as President of the United States. Perry was elected to full terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010.[1] He is considered a possible presidential candidate in 2016.

On July 8, 2013, Perry announced he would not be seeking re-election in 2014.[2]

Perry became the longest-serving governor in Texas history by the end of his time in office. Having won re-election in 2010, he served 14 years in the job.[3] This broke the records held by Bill Clements (eight years, over two non-consecutive terms) and Allan Shivers (7.5 years of consecutive service). In May 2013, the state legislature rejected a proposal that would have imposed term limits on the governor and other state officials by constitutional amendment, subject to voter approval. Before the House struck it down, one of the law's supporters, Rep. Lyle Larson (R), noted how Perry's unrestricted tenure has enabled him to accumulate an unprecedented level of control over state government, since he is the first governor to make every statewide appointment.[4]

Perry ran for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2012 presidential election. On January 19, 2012, Perry suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination, choosing to endorse Newt Gingrich.[5]

An analysis of Republican governors by Nate Silver of the New York Times in April 2013 ranked Perry as the 10th most conservative governor in the country.[6]


Perry is a fifth generation Texan, growing up in Paint Creek on his family's ranch. He was active in Boy Scouts, eventually earning the BSA's Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. At Texas A&M University, he joined the Corps of Cadets and was elected as a yell leader. During college, Perry also worked selling books door to door.[7]

He accepted a commission in the United States Air Force after graduating, completed pilot training and flew tactical airlifts in Europe and the Middle East through most of the 1970s. He retired in 1977 as a captain and returned to Texas to work on his family's cotton farm.[7]

Perry entered politics in 1984, winning election to the Texas House of Representatives for District 64. At the time, Perry was a Democrat. He went on to serve three terms and was one of the "Pit Bulls," members of the appropriations committees who pushed for austere budget measures. The name came from the committee room's lower dais, nicknamed "the pit," where the group routinely sat.[8]

In 1989, Perry switched his affiliation to the Republican party.[9] The following year, he won a narrow upset over the Democratic incumbent to become the state's agriculture commissioner. Four years later, he won an easy re-election. In 1998, he ran for the lieutenant governor's office, becoming the first member of the GOP to hold the office. Perry became Governor upon George W. Bush's resignation to accept the Presidency.[10]


  • B.S. Texas A&M University, 1972
  • Paint Creek High School, 1968

Political Career

Governor of Texas (2000-2015)

See also: Governor of Texas

Perry was Texas' longest-serving governor.[1] He was first sworn in to office as governor on December 21, 2000 after then-Governor George W. Bush resigned to prepare for his inauguration as President of the United States. Perry was elected governor in 2002 over Democrat Antonio R. "Tony" Sanchez, Jr., a Laredo businessman. In the 2002 general election, Perry polled 2,632,591 votes (57.80 percent) to Sanchez's 1,819,798 (39.96 percent). Four other candidates shared some 2.21 percent of the vote. In 2006, Perry gained a second term with only 39 percent of the vote. While 61 percent of Texas voters opposed Perry, he won by plurality because his opposition was split four ways. Perry was the first governor since 1861 to be elected by a plurality of less than 40 percent. (There was also a similar plurality winner in 1853.)[11]

Perry was the first graduate of Texas A&M to serve as Governor of Texas. As governor, he was a member of the National Governors Association, the Western Governors' Association, the Southern Governors' Association and the Republican Governors Association.

Grand jury indictment

A grand jury in Travis County indicted Perry on felony charges of coercion of a public official and abuse of official capacity on August 15, 2014. The jury was tasked with determining if Perry's threats to withhold $7.5 million in state funds from the county's Public Integrity Unit were legal political maneuvering or breaches of state law. Perry suggested that he would withhold funds for the unit, which investigates corruption in Austin and other cities in Travis County, if District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg did not resign. The governor suggested that funding should be withheld because Lehmberg had lost the public's trust following an April 2013 arrest for drunk driving. Lehmberg refused to leave her position, and Perry vetoed the funding from the state's biennial budget.[12]

Full text of the indictment is available here.

The nonprofit group Texans for Public Justice filed a lawsuit against Perry in June 2013.[13] Jurors began their deliberations in April, following the appointment of Michael McCrum as special prosecutor. The prosecutors alleged that Perry had a reason to want to remove Lehmberg from office after she had "clashed with Republicans over her aggressive oversight," while critics accused the governor of attempting to damage the unit through reduced funding.[14]

Perry defended his actions by citing the constitutional ability of the governor to veto appropriations. Perry himself said, "I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand behind my veto and I'll continue to defend this lawful action of my executive authority as governor" and argued that the indictments were politically motivated during an August 16 press conference. He promised to pursue "every legal avenue" in fighting both charges.[15][14] Perry's camp accused the Travis County district attorney's office of political motives, with one of his attorneys calling the prosecution a "political abuse of the court system."[16] Tony Buzbee, the lead attorney in Perry's defense, referred to the indictment as "banana republic politics."[17]

Legal analysts have questioned whether Perry's actions went beyond the limits of legal political maneuvering. Eugene Volokh, a law professor at the University of California-Los Angeles, argued that Perry never possessed the $7.5 million in state funds, a necessary prerequisite for a legitimate claim of misuse of state resources. Jonathan Turley of the George Washington University School of Law also suggested that a conviction for influencing Lehmberg's actions through public threats would criminalize acts and comments from public officials.[18]

If Perry is found guilty on both charges, he would face a maximum sentence of 109 years.[12] If he is found not guilty, however, it could have an effect on his 2016 presidential aspirations. While early thinking assumed that this would make him a less appealing candidate, opinion divided sharply on partisan lines in the days after the indictments.[16] This led Politico to speculate that this issue could strengthen Perry during the Republican primaries.[19]

Perry's attorneys filed an application for a pretrial writ of habeas corpus with the Travis County District Court on August 25, 2014. This filing sought to block prosecution of the governor based on the failings of the state statutes cited by the grand jury. The writ alleges that:[20]

  • Section 36.03(a)(1) of the Texas Penal Code, which deals with coercion of a public official, does not clearly define the line between legal and illegal conduct.
  • Sections 36.03(a)(1) and Section 39.02(a), which deals with abuse of official capacity, were applied too broadly regardless of the constitutionality of those codes.
  • The facts presented against Perry by the state do not demonstrate a violation of either state law.
Background to the indictment

The special prosecutor, Michael McCrum, alleged that Rick Perry, and the Texas Republican Party in general, have previous history of conflicts with the Public Integrity Unit and that Perry attempted to use Lehmberg's drucken driving arrest as leverage to influence the Public Integrity Unit.[21] In recent years, the Public Integrity Unit has prosecuted high-profile Texas Republicans such as Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Representative Tom DeLay.[21] State Republicans also distrust the institution because it is based in relatively liberal Travis County, home to the state capitol in Austin. The New York Times notes that "transferring the unit’s funding and functions out of the Travis County district attorney’s office to another entity, such as the state attorney general’s office, has been a recurring plank in the state Republican platform."[21] Since its foundation in the 1980s, the Public Integrity Unit has prosecuted 15 Democratic and six Republicans public officials, who make up a very small proportion of its work.[21]

University of Texas investigations

Seal of Texas.svg.png

University of Texas Investigations

Wallace Hall impeachment trialPolitical favoritism in admissions to the University of TexasForgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations (TSAO)Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Ed Governance, Excellence & Transparency

UT Regents
Wallace HallPaul FosterEugene PowellSteven HicksErnest AlisedaJeffery HildebrandBrenda PejovichAlex CranbergRobert Stillwell

Elected Officials
Rick PerryJoe StrausCharles PerryTrey FischerDan FlynnNaomi GonzalezEric JohnsonLyle LarsonCarol AlvaradoFour PriceJim PittsDan Branch

UT Individuals
Bill PowersLarry SagerBarry BurgdorfKevin HegartyFrancisco CigarroaCarol Longoria
See also: Wallace Hall impeachment trial, Forgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School and Political favoritism in admissions to the University of Texas

After he was appointed in 2011, University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall began looking into what he believed to be clout scandals within the University of Texas system. Hall investigated the university's forgivable-loans program and admissions policies and preferential treatment to politically-connected individuals.[22] Hall, as an individual citizen, filed FOIA requests with the University system after his inquiries via his role as a Regent were rebuffed.[23] According to his accusers, Hall filed requests of more than 800,000 pages, which some Texas administrators called an unnecessary burden.[24][25] However, a letter from University chancellor Francisco Cigarroa in February 2014 said that Hall likely requested fewer than 100,000 pages.[26][27] In addition, Cigarroa wrote: "During testimony before the Select Committee, some early witnesses implied that the U.T. System has not protected the privacy rights of students, staff, and patients. This is simply not true."[28] Governor Perry and University of Texas President Bill Powers have differed on education issues, specifically tuition, graduation rates, teacher roles and research.[29]

An effort was begun in June 2013 to try and impeach Hall from his position as regent. On June 24, 2013, State House representative Jim Pitts (R) filed a resolution to advance along impeachment proceedings of Hall by the select committee.[30] However, State House Speaker Joe Straus issued a proclamation that expanded the jurisdiction of the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, allowing it to investigate a possible impeachment. Some legislators are justifying the impeachment on the grounds that Hall did not disclose several lawsuits that he was involved in when he originally completed his Regent background check. Hall updated Perry's office in April 2013 with the full list.[31][32] No unelected official in Texas has ever been successfully impeached or removed from office.[33] Perry's spokesperson said the investigations send a "chilling message" to gubernatorial appointees.[34] He added that the investigation was "extraordinary political theater."[35] Texas state legislators have never previously tried to remove an appointed official. Only two elected officials in the history of Texas have ever been successfully impeached.[36][37]

In November 2013, committee member Trey Martinez Fischer submitted a request indicating a desire to look at Hall's personal computers, iPads and smartphones as part of the investigation. "we must consider forensic examination of the personal or professional electronic communications of the regents in order to ensure compliance with the law," Fischer wrote in a letter to committee attorney Rusty Hardin.[38]

At a November 12, 2013 meeting, the committee issued a subpoena for Hall to appear on December 10. However, legislators quickly rescinded the subpoena, since no meeting was scheduled until December 18. Legislators also voted to issue subpoenas to University of Texas Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and University of Texas, Austin President Bill Powers to appear at the December 18, 2013 meeting.[39][40][41][42]

In late November 2013, Perry and State House Speaker Joe Straus sent letters to gubernatorial appointees to address the impeachment trial. Perry's letter explained the importance of oversight of state agencies by gubernatorial appointees. In his letter, Straus agreed with Perry and wrote, "both board members and the Legislature need to ask difficult questions."[43][44][45][46][47]

In May 2014, Perry released a statement reaffirming his support for Hall. "Wallace Hall should be commended for his persistence — in the face of overwhelming opposition from bureaucrats — in trying to ensure the institutions of higher education under his purview are operating effectively, efficiently and within the law."[48]

In February 2015, an independent report by Kroll Associates, commissioned by the Regents Board, confirmed a "pattern of special treatment for well-connected applicants to UT." While the report did not show evidence of any quid pro quo, it did show that "extra acceptances were extended every year to accommodate special cases" and that the "President’s Office ordered applicants admitted over the objection of the Admissions Office." It added that "efforts were made to minimize paper trails and written lists" during the process." The Wall Street Journal wrote that the report should "should put an end" to the concerns over Hall's clout investigations.[49]

Censure vote

Although the committee left open the possibility of revisiting impeachment, an August 11, 2014 vote passed 6-1 to censure Hall, possibly bringing a close to the more than year-long process.[50][51] In response to the censure vote, Governor of Texas Rick Perry issued a statement defending Hall's actions, saying the regent acted in the best interest of Texas "in the face of withering personal attacks."[52]

Issue Positions

Texas health care

Early in his term as governor, Perry worked to reform Texas health care and make it more accessible and instituted the SCHIP program designed to insure 500,000 children. He increased health funding by $6 billion. Some of these programs have faced funding problems.[53]

Texas school funding

Perry increased school funding prior to the 2002 election, creating new scholarship programs to help needy children in Texas. This included $300 million for the Texas GRANT Scholarship Program. Nine billion was allocated to Texas public schools, colleges and universities and combined with an emphasis on accountability for both teachers and students.[54]

Fiscal issues

Perry, a proponent of fiscal conservatism, has often campaigned on tax reform and job growth. Perry resisted new income and sales taxes, protected the state's "Rainy Day fund," balanced the state budget, and worked to reduce property taxes that exploded with inflation in property values in the late 1990s. He was credited by some with attracting thousands of jobs to Texas in by cutting payroll and property taxes.[55]

In early 2006, Perry angered many fiscal conservatives in his own party by supporting an increase in the state franchise tax along side a property tax reform bill. Many organizations within the Republican Party condemned Perry's tax bill, HB-3, and likened it to a "back door" state income tax. 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 contended, would total only $150 per family on average.[56] In 2003, Perry signed legislation that created the Texas Enterprise Fund making the development of the economy of Texas a top priority. His sales tax cuts have attracted new retail to Texas but in recent years his tax relief has come under scrutiny for sapping strength from government programs, particularly education.[57]

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" proposal that was in place at the time. In 2004, Perry attacked the same "Robin Hood" plan as a part of the education system's woes and attempted to get the legislature to finally abolish the system and replace it with one that he believed would encourage greater equity, cost less, not increase property or sales taxes, and not discourage job growth. While proclaiming his dedication to resolving the education funding issue, Perry also called three special legislative sessions in a row to force a redistricting plan through the legislature to re-align state precincts in favor of Republicans. Specifically, it was mentioned at the time by the proponents of the plan, Tom DeLay, among others, that they were not redistricting to deprive minorities, who historically voted Democrat, of their representation, but more specifically that they were redistricting to give registered Republicans the advantage, and that this was 'clearly not illegal or immoral'.[58]

A special session of the legislature was convened June 21, 2005 to address the issues, but there was considerable resistance in the house, even from Speaker Tom Craddick. Perry's proposal was attacked by Democrats and many Republicans who represent property-poor districts and was rejected.[58] During the session, Perry became involved in a heated debate with Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn about the merits of his school finance proposal. Strayhorn planned to run against Perry in the 2006 primary, but later decided to run as an independent. Another special session was convened on July 21, 2005 after Perry vetoed all funding for public schools for the 2007-2008 biennium, stating in a press briefing that "I’m not going 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."[59] Perry's 2006 campaign office stated that "without a special session, about $2 billion that had been intended for teacher pay raises, education reforms and other school priorities would have gone unused instead of going to schools because House Bill 2 (the public school reform package) didn’t pass."[59] 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.

Late in 2005, as public approval of his governorship sunk to all-time lows, Perry requested assistance from his former lieutenant-governor campaign rival John Sharp - the former Texas State Comptroller, Railroad Commissioner, Senator and House Representative - to head an education task force charged with preparing a bipartisan education plan for the 2006 special legislative session, which was convened April 17, 2006. Foregoing the opportunity to run against Perry in the upcoming race for the Texas governorship (a race that many have since suggested that he would have won), Sharp accepted Perry's offer and went to work. The task force issued its final plan several months later, with the suggestions contained within the plan accepted by the Texas Legislature and made into law soon afterward.[60] Former Comptroller Sharp and his hand-picked team are now credited with modernizing the Texas Tax Code, something that the government was unable to achieve under Governor Perry's leadership alone. For his successful efforts, Sharp was later nominated by the Dallas Morning News for the "Texan of the Year" award.[61]

Gun control

Following the unveiling of new federal gun control legislation in January 2013, Perry criticized the "political left and their cohorts in the media" for their response to the Newton shooting, saying that it is not new laws that are needed but prayer. "As a free people, let us choose what kind of people we will be. Laws, the only redoubt of secularism, will not suffice. Let us all return to our places of worship and pray for help. Above all, let us pray for our children," he stated.[62]

Voting Rights Act

When the Supreme Court overturned a section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act on July 25, 2013, the Texas Voter ID law that was federally denied, became active. Texas' photo ID law, SB14, previously required pre-clearance by the USDOJ before going into effect which was denied on March 13, 2012. On August 30, 2012, a three-judge panel in United States District Court for the District of Columbia unanimously struck down the Texas photo voter identification law. The court ruled that the law would hurt minority voter turnout and impose strict burdens on the poor.[63] Eric Holder, the United States Attorney General, announced on July 25, 2013 that the Justice Department will ask a court to require Texas to get federal approval before making changes to election laws.[64] In response to Holder's actions, Rick Perry spoke out in opposition saying Holder's remarks demonstrated “utter contempt for our country’s system of checks and balances.” Perry felt Holder's plan would weaken the state's voter-integrity laws and elections process.[64]

National prayer rally

Perry caused a stir in July 2011 by announcing he would be heading an event in which citizens were invited to pray and fast for the state of the nation. The event, titled "The Response: A call to prayer for a nation in crisis," renewed the public discussion over separation of church and state in America. It took place August 6, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston.[65]

The event’s website explained its purpose: "America has been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. The youth of America are in grave peril economically, socially, and, most of all, morally. There are threats emerging within our nation and beyond our borders beyond our power to solve...There is hope for America. It lies in heaven, and we will find it on our knees.."[66]

Governor Perry told an MSNBC reporter on July 14, 2011, that more than 6,000 people planned to attend, including Kansas governor Sam Brownback. The rally's invite list included all of the nation's governors, Obama administration officials, and the members of the Texas State Legislature.[67]

The Wisconsin based Freedom from Religion Foundation filed Federal suit in attempt to stop Perry from speaking at the event. The organization claimed “Gov. Perry's distasteful use of his civil office to plan and dictate a religious course of action to 'all citizens' is deeply offensive to many citizens, as well as to our secular form of government."[68] US District Judge Gray Miller dismissed the group's suit on July 28, 2011 because they "had suffered no injury and thus lacked the legal standing to sue."[69]

Social Conservatism

In 2005, Perry signed a bill that limited late term abortions and required girls under the age of 18 to have parental permission for an abortion. He signed the bill in the gymnasium of Calvary Christian Academy in Fort Worth, an evangelical Christian school and came under fire from abortion advocates.[70] He 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's last such law "appropriate."[71]

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 82 times, more than any 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 over three legislative sessions and 22 more than Ann Richards cast in two sessions. In the two legislative sessions since the 2001 session, Perry was more conservative in his use of the veto, employing it only 51 times in total. However, as of 2005, he had used the veto more than any other Governor of Texas in a contiguous administration; the only governor who exceeded Perry's total was Republican Bill Clements, facing a Democrat dominated state government, vetoing legislation 184 times over two nonconsecutive terms to Perry's 132.[72]

States' rights

Perry has backed states' rights on several occasions, including the ability of states to decide their own policy on the environment and on drugs.[73]

Judicial Appointments

See also: Judges appointed by Rick Perry

Perry has made numerous appointments to the Texas courts, the Railroad Commission, and other bodies and commissions during his tenure as governor. One of his first selections was the appointment of Xavier Rodriguez to 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. Steven Smith was elected in the 2002 general election.[74]

Perry objected to Smith's tenure on the court and refused to meet with the new justice when he attempted to mend fences with the governor. Perry encouraged Judge Paul Green to challenge Smith in the 2004 Republican primary. Perry raised campaign cash for Green, who defeated Smith in the primary and was then elected without opposition in the 2004 general election. Smith attempted a comeback in the 2006 Republican primary by waging a shoestring challenge to Justice Don Willett, another Perry appointee who was also considered a strong conservative on the court. Smith polled 49.5 percent of the primary vote, but Perry's man prevailed.[74]

Death penalty and crime

Perry supports the death penalty and 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 true; 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.[75] Perry rarely uses this authority.

In 2005, Frances Newton's appeal for a commutation of her death penalty was declined, although some alleged that there was insufficient evidence to convict. Her attorney had also argued Newton was incapable of standing trial. Frances 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.[76]

In 2007, however, Perry used his power to issue pardons. 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 9 March 2007, Governor Perry granted Brown a conditional pardon.[77]

Border Security

Governor Perry has called on the federal government to fund border security measures and to send troops to help man Texas's border with Mexico. He requested 100,000 federal troops to be sent to Texas in 2009. "I don't care if they are military, National Guard or customs agents...We're very concerned that the federal government is not funding border security adequately. We must be ready for any contingency," he said.[78]

Inauguration concert

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, Nugent allegedly appeared onstage as the final act of 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. Nugent denied making any racial comments.[79]

Tax returns

Perry disclosed two decades worth of tax returns as he was gearing up for the 2010 primary battle.[80] The key item of controversial in the returns was Perry's financial relationship with Troy Fraser, a Republican state senator. Perry sold to Fraser a tract of lakefront property in March 2007 for $1.14 million, making a profit of $823,766. The returns also showed that Perry achieved millionaire status in 2009.[81]

Cervical cancer vaccine

On February 2, 2007 Perry issued an Executive Order mandating that Texas girls be vaccinated with Gardasil, a drug manufactured by Merck & Co., Inc. that protects against some strains of the HPV virus which causes cervical cancer.

Perry's move has been criticized by 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.[82] Several financial connections between Merck and Rick Perry have been reported, 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.[83]

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. Being a patent protected vaccine, Merck is the sole producer of Gardasil.

On May 9, 2007, Perry allowed a bill to go into law that would undo his executive order.[84]

Notable pardons

Job creation ranking

In a June 2013 analysis by The Business Journals, which ranked 45 of the country's 50 governors by their job creation records, Perry was ranked number 2. The five governors omitted from the analysis all assumed office in 2013. The ranking was based on a comparison of the annual private sector growth rate in all 50 states using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[85][86] In 2013, Perry began working to convince businesses from highly taxed and regulated states to move to Texas. He began in California in February and went to Illinois in April.[87]

While Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and other politicians dismissed Perry's trip, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford indicated the move needed to be taken more seriously. He stated, “Though the state has many strong points, it is no secret that Illinois’ financial flaws are a downfall for business owners and residents. Texas Governor Rick Perry’s attempt to get Illinois businesses to move to Texas should sound an alarm to state leaders.”[88]

2014 Iraq crisis

In the summer of 2014, Perry wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post denouncing what he deemed "isolationist" policies and specifically criticizing Sen. Rand Paul for promoting these policies.[89] This disagreement on foreign policy was focused on their different approaches to the concurrent crisis in Iraq, in which a militant group proclaiming an "Islamic State" was advancing against the Iraqi government. Paul responded via an op-ed in Politico that called Perry's argument "dead wrong."[90] Paul's article asserted a difference between not wanting troops on the ground, which he claimed that Perry supported, and isolationism, a label that Paul rejected.

Lieutenant Governor (1999-2000)

In 1998, Perry ran 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 run for lieutenant governor. Libertarian Anthony Garcia polled another 65,150 votes (1.75 percent).[91]

Agriculture Commissioner (1991-1999)

In 1990, in a race for commissioner of agriculture new Republican Perry unseated Democrat Jim Hightower. Hightower had worked for Jesse Jackson in the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988, while Perry had supported Tennessee Senator Al Gore and was Gore's campaign chairman in Texas in 1988.[92]

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.

Perry was re-elected agriculture commissioner by a large margin in 1994. He polled 2,546,287 (61.92 percent) to Democrat Marvin Gregory's 1,479,692 (35.98 percent). Libertarian Clyde L. Garland received 85,836 votes (2.08 percent).[93]

Texas Legislature (1982-1990)

Perry has said that his interest in politics probably began in December 1961, when, at the age of 11, 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, Texas for the official farewell to Rayburn.[94]

In 1982, as his term on the Board of Education ended, 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 as a state legislator, where he was known as one 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.[95]

On The Issues Vote Match

Rick Perry's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the analysis, Perry is a Hard-Core Conservative.[96] Note: We are working to resolve inaccuracies with this information. Thank you for your patience.

On The Issues organization logo.




See also: Rick Perry possible presidential campaign, 2016 and Presidential election, 2016

Perry is considered a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016. On September 11, 2014, Perry responded to a question about his candidacy in 2016, stating, "I may not run in 2016, but I’ve spent the last 20-plus months preparing. If I don’t run, it won’t be because I’m not prepared."[97] Prior to the 2016 election, there were 17 presidents who previously served as governors.[98]


See also: Texas gubernatorial election, 2014

Perry chose not to seek re-election to a fourth term as Governor of Texas in the 2014 election.[99][4]

On July 8, 2013, Perry announced "I remain excited about the future and the challenges ahead but the time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership."[100]


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Rick Perry formally announced on August 13, 2011 that he was running for the 2012 Republican US presidential nomination. Speaking to a group of conservative bloggers in Charleston, South Carolina, he went directly after President Barack Obama for his "failed western European social values" and criticized Obama's economic policies for trying to "win the future by selling it off to foreign creditors."[101] "We don't need a president who apologizes for America. We need a president who protects and projects those values."[101]

Perry made the highly anticipated announcement of his presidential run on the same day as the Iowa Straw Poll. While his name was not on the ballot, Perry placed sixth in the influential poll as a write-in candidate - beating former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney whose name was on the ballot.[102] The timing of his announcement had the added campaign benefit of eclipsing Republican competitor Michelle Bachman's victory in Ames.

On January 19, 2012, Perry suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination, choosing instead to endorse Newt Gingrich.[103]

Race background

Governor Perry began hinting at a potential 2012 bid for the US Presidency in May 2011. Reversing his previous insistence that he was not interested, Perry fielded a question concerning his presidential intentions on May 27, 2011, with "I'm going to think about it. I think about a lot of things."[104] The governor stated he wanted to wait until the Texas State Legislature adjourned before making a decision on a presidential run.[104]

Perry, a star among the Tea Party and conservatives, had long deflected calls from groups and activists across the nation to throw his hat in the presidential ring. Supporters cited his consistent conservative record and Texas's strong economic performance under his leadership as two of their many reasons for backing Perry. With Perry in the race, the Texas economy became even more of a national focus given the prolonged economic recession in the United States. As The Washington Post reported, "nearly four out of 10 of the jobs created in this country since the recovery began have been in the Lone Star State. As of May 2011, Texas was one of only three states (plus the District) that had rebounded to their pre-recession employment levels, according to statistics provided by the Federal Reserve Board of Dallas."[105] The struggling national economy had been seen as one of President Obama's weaknesses since taking office, and some Republicans saw Perry's success in Texas as valuable firepower for 2012.

When asked by the Des Moines Register in July 2011 about his plans, Perry said “I’m not ready to tell you that I’m ready to announce that I’m in. But I’m getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I’ve been called to do. This is what America needs.”[106]

Another sign towards a Perry presidential campaign surfaced on July 26, 2011 when the fiscally conservative group GrowPac (based in New York) announced their support for Perry by launching a radio campaign in Iowa urging people to write in Rick Perry on the August 13th Ames Straw Poll.[106] The 60-second radio ad read:

Hi, I’m David Malpass.

As an economist and father of four, I’m appalled at Washington’s out of control debt. President Obama is making things worse. We need a president who will stop this.

Texas Governor Rick Perry has a proven track record of controlling spending and creating jobs. He succeeded in Texas by believing in less government, not more.

Rick Perry understands the 10th amendment and has the backbone to bring an upheaval to Washington.

Iowa has a chance to turn things around for America.

At the Ames Straw Poll write in Rick Perry, he can win and make America secure again.

I worked for Ronald Reagan and I know how countries create growth and jobs.

Let’s give Rick Perry a chance.

GrowPac is responsible for the content of this advertising. Paid for by GrowPAC and not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee. Visit David Malpass’ GrowPac.Com[106]

As of July 27th 2011, prospects for a Perry Presidential campaign remained high, but still undecided. One of Perry's top advisors told CNN "Rick Perry is not a half-in kind of person on anything, ever. If he decides to move forward he'll be all in. If he is out, he'll be out just as quickly. But we have not made any hard decisions yet."[107]

Perry formally announced he was running for president on August 13, 2011.


A total of 51 elected officials endorsed Rick Perry for the 2012 US presidency before he left the race.

For a full list see: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election


See also: Texas gubernatorial election, 2010

Governor Rick Perry won re-election in 2010. He faced two challengers in the Republican primary: Kay Bailey Hutchison and Debra Medina. Perry was able to avoid a runoff, by receiving 51 percent of the votes cast on March 2nd. He faced ex-Houston Mayor, Bill White, who was the Democratic nominee, and Katherine Youngblood Glass, the Libertarian nominee, and Deb Shafto, the Green Party nominee, in the general election on November 2, 2010.[108][109]

Governor of Texas, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRick Perry Incumbent 55% 2,737,481
     Democratic Bill White 42.3% 2,106,395
     Libertarian Kathie Glass 2.2% 109,211
     Green Deb Shafto 0.4% 19,516
     Write-In Andy Barron 0.1% 7,267
Total Votes 4,979,870
Election Results via Texas Secretary of State


See also: Texas gubernatorial election, 2006

In the 2006 November general election, Perry defeated a Democrat, former Congressman Chris Bell of Houston; a Libertarian, sales consultant James Werner; and two independent candidates, outgoing Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Richard "Kinky" Friedman, a country singer.

Governor of Texas, 2006
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.png Rick Perry Incumbent 39% 1,716,792
     Democratic Chris Bell 29.8% 1,310,337
     Libertarian James Werner 0.6% 26,749
     Independent Richard "Kinky" Friedman 12.4% 547,674
     Independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn 18.1% 796,851
     Write-In James "Patriot" Dillon 0% 713
Total Votes 4,399,116
Election Results via Texas Secretary of State


See also: Texas gubernatorial election, 2002

On November 5, 2002, Rick Perry won re-election to the office of Governor of Texas. He defeated Tony Sanchez, Jeff Daiell, Rahul Mahajan, Elaine Eure Henderson and Earl W. (Bill) O'Neil in the general election.

Governor of Texas, 2002
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.png Rick Perry Incumbent 57.8% 2,632,591
     Democratic Tony Sanchez 40% 1,819,798
     Libertarian Jeff Daiell 1.5% 66,720
     Green Rahul Mahajan 0.7% 32,187
     Write-In Elaine Eure Henderson 0% 1,715
     Write-In Earl W. (Bill) O'Neil 0% 976
Total Votes 4,553,987
Election Results Via: Texas Secretary of State

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Perry is available dating back to 1998. Based on available campaign finance records, Perry raised a total of $123,656,242 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 9, 2013.[110]

Rick Perry's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Texas Governor Not up for election $6,564,600
2010 Texas Governor Won $39,328,540
2008 Texas Governor Not up for election $10,147,129
2006 Texas Governor Won $20,199,539
2004 Texas Governor Not up for election $10,299,759
2002 Texas Governor Won $20,674,811
2000 Texas Governor Not up for election $4,056,425
1998 Texas Lieutenant Governor Won $12,385,439
Grand Total Raised $123,656,242


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Rick Perry's donors each year.[111] Click [show] for more information.


In 1982, Perry married Anita Thigpen, whom he had known since elementary school. The couple have two children.[7]

Recent news

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External links

Local media coverage
Additional media coverage
Federal financial

Additional reading


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  2. USA Today, "Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he won't run again," July 8, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Dallas Morning News, "Term limit proposal goes down in the House," May 15, 2013
  5. Politico, "Rick Perry drops 2012 campaign for president, endorses Newt Gingrich," January 19, 2012
  6. New York Times, "In State Governments, Signs of a Healthier G.O.P.," April 16, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Biography.com, "Rick Perry," accessed June 30, 2012
  8. Houston Chronicle, "Meet Perry's loyal inner circle," September 25, 2011
  9. Huffington Post, "Rick Perry Began Political Career As Young Star For Texas Democrats," July 16, 2011
  10. Rick Perry, "About," accessed June 30, 2012
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  12. 12.0 12.1 KXAN, "Texas Governor Rick Perry indicted by grand jury," August 15, 2014
  13. The New York Times, "Gov. Rick Perry of Texas Is Indicted on Charge of Abuse of Power," August 15, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 Los Angeles Times, "Texas Gov. Rick Perry: Felony indictment is 'outrageous' and partisan," August 16, 2014
  15. The New York Times, "Indictment of Perry Raises Debate Over Which Party Is Abusing Power," August 16, 2014
  16. 16.0 16.1 The Teas Tribune, "Grand Jury Indicts Perry Over Integrity Unit Veto," August 15, 2014
  17. CBS DFW, "Perry's Attorney Calls Indictment 'Banana Republic' Politics," August 18, 2014
  18. Talking Points Memo, "3 Reasons Why Rick Perry Will Be Very Tough To Take Down In Court," August 19, 2014
  19. Poltico, "Rick Perry indicted, backers cry witch-hunt," August 15, 2014
  20. Rick Perry, "Application for Pretrial Writ of Habeas Corpus," August 25, 2014
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 The New York Times, "Texas v. Perry Emerges From Years of Struggle Over Anticorruption Unit," August 26, 2014
  22. American Spectator, "Transparency for Thee," October 25, 2013
  23. Daily Texas Online, "Facing impeachment, Regent Wallace Hall defends actions in debate with Sen. Kirk Watson," September 28, 2013
  24. Daily Texas Online, "Former UT System vice chancellor alleges Regent Wallace Hall’s ‘clear intent to get rid of Bill Powers’," October 24, 2013
  25. Dallas Morning News, "UT regent sought 800,000 documents, official says in impeachment hearing," October 22, 2013
  26. Watchdog, "‘Witch hunt’ fallout: Speaker calls for narrower public records law," February 5, 2014
  27. Texas Tribune, "UT System Responds to Transparency Committee Directives," February 3, 2014
  28. Texas Tribune, "Cigarroa letter to the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations," February 1, 2014
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  30. Alcalde, "Pitts Files Resolution to Impeach UT Regent Wallace Hall," June 24, 2013
  31. Texas Tribune, "UT Regent Wallace Hall Updates Lawsuit Disclosures," April 30, 2013
  32. Real Clear Policy, "The Campaign Against Wallace Hall," August 15, 2013
  33. News-Journal, "University of Texas regent not worried by impeachment inquiry," September 9, 2013
  34. Texas Tribune, "Transparency Committee to Mull Impeachment of UT Regent," June 25, 2013
  35. Texas Tribune, "Perry Blasts Impeachment Probe of Wallace Hall," October 30, 2013
  36. Texas Public Radio, "UT Regent Wallace Hall Will Testify In Impeachment Hearing," November 13, 2013
  37. Texas State House Committees, "Transparency in State Agency Operations Committee Members," accessed October 31, 2013
  38. Texas Tribune, "Lawmaker Eyes Access to UT Regents' Computers," November 4, 2013
  39. San Francisco Chronicle, "Texas House subpoenas Hall, but then recalls it," November 12, 2013
  40. Texas Tribune, "UT System Lawyer: Hall May Have Shared Private Info," November 12, 2013
  41. Austin American Statesman, "UT Regent Wallace Hall might have broken privacy laws, panel members suggest," November 12, 2013
  42. Texas Tribune, "Committee Recalls Subpoena for UT Regent Hall," November 12, 2013
  43. Texas Tribune, "Perry, Straus reach out to appointees amid Hall inquiry," December 21, 2013
  44. Daily Caller, "Texas tries to topple higher-ed transparency," November 21, 2013
  45. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "Perry calls regent impeachment “political theater”," October 30, 2013
  46. Lubbock Online, "Perry, Straus Reach Out to Appointees Amid Hall Inquiry," December 22, 2013
  47. Texas Tribune, "Letter from Rick Perry to Appointees," November 22, 2013
  48. Austin American-Statesman, "Perry defends UT regent as House panel drafts impeachment articles," May 21, 2014
  49. Wall Street Journal, "Texas Admissions Rumble," February 12, 2015
  50. Dallas Morning News, "Panel censures but doesn’t impeach UT Regent Wallace Hall," August 11, 2014
  51. Austin American-Statesman, "Panel censures UT Regent Wallace L. Hall Jr.," August 11, 2014
  52. Your Houston News, "Statement by Gov. Perry on UT Regent Wallace Hall," August 11, 2014
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  55. Statesman, "Should Perry get credit for Texas economy?," July 16, 2011
  56. The Political Guide, "Rick Perry - Taxes," December 13, 2011
  57. CBS Dallas-Fort Worth, "The Texas Enterprise Fund & The Perry Campaign," October 13, 2011
  58. 58.0 58.1 University of Oklahoma, "The Texas Redistricting, Measure for Measure," Fall 2004
  59. 59.0 59.1 Office of the Governor, "Gov. Perry Says Legislators Must Come Back, Get School Funding Right," June 18, 2005
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  62. Christian Post, "Texas Gov. Rick Perry Says Prayer, Not Gun Control, Key to Ending Violence," January 17, 2013
  63. The New York Times, "Court Blocks Texas Voter ID Law, Citing Racial Impact," August 30, 2012
  64. 64.0 64.1 New York Times, Holder Wants Texas to Clear Voting Changes With the U.S., July 25, 2013
  65. My San Antonio, "30,000 heed Perry's call for prayer," August 9, 2011
  66. "The Response: A call to prayer for a nation in crisis" accessed July 15, 2011 (dead link)
  67. "MSNBC News,"Texas governor defends prayer day after lawsuit filed,July 14, 2011
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  79. Houston Chronicle, "Nugent rocks Perry ball with Confederate shirt," January 18, 2007
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  82. Newsmax, "Texas Families Seek to Block Gov's Order," February 25, 2007
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  84. Austin Statesman, "Bill would overturn his mandate," May 9, 2007 (dead link)
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  86. The Business Journals, "How state governors rank on their job-growth record," June 27, 2013
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  88. CBS 2 Chicago, "Texas Governor In Chicago To Lure Business To Lone Star State," April 22, 2013
  89. The Washington Post, "Isolationist policies make the threat of terrorism even greater," July 11, 2014
  90. Politico, "Rick Perry Is Dead Wrong," July 14, 2014
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  96. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ontheissues
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  108. Governor Rick Perry wins GOP nomination for Governor of Texas - MSNBC
  109. Libertarian Party of Texas Chooses Its Candidate - Texas Tribune
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  111. Follow the Money.org, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
Political offices
Preceded by
George W. Bush (R)
Governor of Texas
2000 - 2015
Succeeded by
Greg Abbott (R)
Preceded by
Bob Bullock
Lieutenant Governor of Texas
Succeeded by
Bill Ratliff
Preceded by
Texas Commissioner of Agriculture
1990 - 1998
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Texas House of Representatives
1984 - 1990
Succeeded by