Rick Perry (R-TX-Governor)
Rick Perry (R-TX- Governor) – Bio
Update January 19, 2012: South Carolina, Perry ends campaign and endorsed Newt Gingrich.
Update: January 3, 2012 Gov. Perry announces that he is returning to Texas to access his campaign.
Updated August 13, 2011
Bio from RickPerry.org, Inc.
From a Place Called Paint Creek
The 47th governor of Texas, Rick Perry grew up in the small community of Paint Creek located along the rolling plains of West Texas. Rick Perry is the son of Ray Perry, a World War II tailgunner who flew 35 missions over war-torn Europe, and Amelia Perry, who provided a loving, nurturing home for Rick and his older sister Amelia. Ray and Amelia Perry started out as tenant farmers, providing a modest upbringing for their children. Rick Perry grew up without indoor plumbing the first five years of his life, wore clothes hand-sewn by his mother, and was even bathed in a number 2 washtub as a young boy. Perry was one of 13 students in the Paint Creek Rural School’s Class of 1968. He played six-man football, worked on his family farm, and devoted himself to the Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Eagle while in his teens.
Perry was among the first generation in his family to attend college, enrolling at Texas A&M University in the fall of 1968. He joined the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets and was elected twice to serve as an Aggie Yell Leader. Perry graduated in August 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science.
Upon graduation, Perry took a commission in the United States Air Force, flying C-130 tactical aircraft to destinations around the globe, including South America, Europe and the Middle East. In 1977, Perry was honorably discharged from the Air Force with the rank of Captain, and he returned home to the family farm, where they grew dryland cotton, milo and wheat. During the next few years, Perry would become one of millions of conservative Reagan Democrats, and marry his high school sweetheart, Anita Thigpen, 16 years after their first date.
In 1983, Rick and Anita Perry welcomed a son, Griffin, and their daughter Sydney arrived in 1986. It was in 1984 that Perry set his sights on public office, running to represent his rural neighbors in the Texas House. Perry would serve three terms in the House, ultimately switching to the Republican Party toward the end of his final term, and taking the bold step of running statewide against populist Democrat Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower. Perry upset Hightower in 1990 and easily won re-election in 1994.
In 1998, Perry defeated his former Aggie classmate and the strongest Democrat on the ticket, John Sharp, in a close contest for lieutenant governor. Perry became governor in December 2000 after Governor George W. Bush resigned his office weeks before becoming President. Perry has since won three full terms as governor, vanquishing billionaire Democrat Tony Sanchez by 18 points in 2002, defeating a four-candidate field with a nine-point gap over the second place finisher in 2006, and defeating both Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison by 21 points in the 2010 primary and popular Houston Mayor Bill White by 13 points in the 2010 general election.
The Prosperity Agenda: Jobs, Tax Relief, Spending Cuts
A staunch fiscal and social conservative, Rick Perry has controlled spending and taxes in Texas. Perry has signed into law state budgets that have invested billions of dollars more in education, and he has successfully advocated for landmark lawsuit reforms.
In the most recent 2011 regular legislative session, Perry set a conservative, fiscally responsible course. He insisted on no new taxes, worked with legislators to cut spending by $15 billion, and protected the “Rainy Day Fund,” which set aside at least $6 billion for future needs.
Perry is the only governor since World War II to reduce state general revenue spending. Perry also signed an historic property tax cut, and a tax cut for small businesses with less than $1 million in gross receipts.
Perry has a strong record on job creation. His support for low taxes, reasonable regulations, a predictable civil litigation system and an educated workforce has produced a business climate consistently ranked among the best in the nation. Perry has actively encouraged employers to relocate to Texas or expand their operations in the state. Since June 2009, more than 40 percent of the net new jobs created in America have been created in Texas, and today, the Lone Star State is a magnet for corporate relocations. For nine straight years, Texas has led the nation in exports to foreign countries among the 50 states.
With a strong record of job creation, restrained spending and tax cuts, Rick Perry is a committed conservative with the right vision for creating opportunity and prosperity. He has signed into law comprehensive reforms that have made Texas a leader in the fight against lawsuit abuse. These reforms include a recent loser pay law that will cut down on frivolous lawsuits. His medical liability reforms have increased the number of physicians practicing in the state by the thousands, improving patient access to medical specialists.
The Perry record also includes a significant commitment to border security to stop the in-flow of illegal immigrants, weapons and drugs. Perry has ordered border surge operations that have reduced illegal crossings, and allocated hundreds of millions of dollars for border security operations that put more boots on the ground and utilize technology to detect, track and deter the criminal element.
Liberty, Security, Prosperity
A candidate for the Republican nomination in 2012, Rick Perry not only has a record of conservative reform, but a vision for America based on greater liberty, security and prosperity.
Perry will lead the effort to repeal Obama-care, the greatest intrusion on individual freedom in a generation. This budget-busting, government takeover of health care will rob half a billion dollars from Medicare and saddle America with massive tax hikes and higher costs in the long term.
Recognizing that rising deficits, record debt and failed stimulus spending have jeopardized the future of our country, Perry will take his proven budget-cutting record to Washington. He will reform entitlements and require all federal agencies to engage in a top-to-bottom review to identify and eliminate federal waste by justifying every program and every taxpayer dollar spent.
To stimulate the economy, Perry will take America on a very different course than that pursued by the Obama Administration. Instead of wasting tax dollars on massive spending bills that bloat the federal bureaucracy and slowly deliver funds to a few handpicked industries, Perry will cut taxes. Perry’s pro-growth agenda, combined with real spending reductions, will lead to a new era of economic growth that will get America working again.
Perry’s economic policies stand in stark contrast to the Obama Administration, and his Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner who declared taxes must increase for small businesses, “so the administration does not have to ‘shrink the overall size of government programs.’” (CNSNews.com, 6/23/11). Not only has Perry cut taxes for small businesses, but his economic policies will unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of small employers so they can hire and grow again.
Perry will invest in border security and stop the federal intrusion upon states by runaway agencies like the EPA. He will stand for the sanctity of life and the protection of the unborn. He will return our country to constitutional principles, including a renewed respect for the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution and state sovereignty.
Perry is a national leader in the effort to restore the primacy of the 10th Amendment, and wrote the book, “Fed Up” to rally Americans to restore the proper, constitutional balance between the federal government and the states. Perry’s first book, “On My Honor” defended the values of the Boy Scouts from assaults by the liberal elite.
A Reagan Republican, Rick Perry will restore confidence in the American Dream and American Exceptionalism. He will advocate for economic policies that get our country moving again. He will work to ensure all Americans believe again in the promise of America.
Rick Perry will revive our economy, create jobs and protect America’s place as the world’s economic leader. He will offer a clear vision for our foreign policy that is based on American interests and a profound respect for the men and women who wear the uniform of our country.
It’s time for a leader who will allow us to believe again – to believe that America’s best days are ahead, that we are not consigned to a fate of high unemployment and rising prices, and that our place in the world can once again be secure with a policy of peace through strength.
Rick Perry, Biography from Office of the Governor, Texas
Biography of Governor Rick Perry
Married To: Anita (Thigpen) Perry
Children: Griffin and Sydney
College: Texas A&M University
Career in Public Service:
U.S. Air Force, 1972 – 1977
Texas House of Representatives (District 64)
Texas Agriculture Commissioner
A fifth generation Texan, Governor Rick Perry has taken an extraordinary Texas journey, from a tenant farm in the rolling West Texas plains to the governor’s office of our nation’s second largest state.
Texas’ 47th governor, and the first Texas A&M graduate to occupy the Governor’s Mansion, Rick Perry has led a life of public service, starting in the United States Air Force and continuing over two decades in elected office.
Governor Perry’s administration has focused on creating a Texas of unlimited opportunity and prosperity by improving education, securing the border and increasing economic development through classic conservative values.
During his tenure, Governor Perry has maintained a strong focus on fiscal discipline, becoming only the only Texas governor since World War II to sign budgets that reduced general revenue spending. He has used his line item veto to scrub more than $3 billion in budgeted spending, while encouraging investments in the building blocks of a prosperous state: the economy, education and security.
The Texas economy is performing well in the current global economic crisis, thanks to a focused effort to keep taxes low, regulations predictable and legal system fair. Gov. Perry led the effort to reform the legal system, signing into law a series of lawsuit reforms designed to stem the flow of frivolous lawsuits through Texas courts. As a result, employers can devote their resources to creating jobs instead of defending against those frivolous lawsuits. More importantly, the reforms reversed the trend on skyrocketing malpractice insurance rates which has led to an influx of doctors seeking to practice in Texas. As a result, obstetricians and other specialists are returning to practice in previously underserved, high-risk areas.
On the education front, Governor Perry has worked to improve the quality of Texas schools from top to bottom by increasing accountability, raising expectations and funding programs that work. In addition to introducing the largest teacher incentive pay program in the country, Governor Perry has overseen a 43 percent increase in total spending on public education in Texas. He also signed a school finance reform package that provided a 33 percent school property tax reduction, a $2,000 pay raise for teachers, record funding for classrooms and a reformed business tax.
Stepping into the gap left by the federal government, Governor Perry has worked with the legislature to fund coordinated border security efforts to the tune of more than $230 million over the past several years. Governor Perry has initiated a “boots on the ground” strategy, integrating and coordinating local, county, state and federal law enforcement efforts, resulting in significantly decreased crime in key areas along the border.
Rick Perry’s political career started in 1985 as a representative for a rural West Texas district in the state House of Representatives. He was first elected to statewide office in 1990, and served as Texas Commissioner of Agriculture for two terms. Governor Perry hails from Paint Creek, a small farming community north of Abilene. His father, Ray Perry, served as a Haskell County Commissioner, school board member and a World War II tail gunner. Between 1972 and 1977, Governor Perry served in the United States Air Force, flying C-130 tactical airlift aircraft in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.
He is a 1972 graduate of Texas A&M University where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets, a junior and senior yell leader and an animal science major. The younger of Ray and Amelia Perry’s two children, Governor Perry is an Eagle Scout and lifetime member of American Legion Post #75.
He first met Anita Thigpen at a piano recital during their elementary school years. They married in 1982 and are the proud parents of two grown children — Griffin and Sydney. Griffin married his wife, Meredith, in 2009.
Biography from Texans for Rick Perry
Rick Perry has devoted his adult life to creating a more prosperous Texas. The Lone Star State’s 47th governor, he has defended Texans’ conservative values, fought for principled solutions to tough challenges and worked to implement a clear vision for better schools, more jobs, safer communities and a brighter future.
Thanks to his adherence to tough fiscal discipline, Governor Perry has helped shape a job creation environment unlike any other state’s. With low taxes & government spending, predictable regulations, a fair legal system and increasingly accountable schools, Texas has led the nation in job creation with more jobs gained than any other state in 2010 and over the past ten years.
As a result, Texas is consistently ranked as the nation’s best place to do business and create jobs.
To prepare young Texans to fill these jobs, Gov. Perry has led the fight for better schools, including a $2,000 teacher pay raise, a return to basic subjects like math, history and science, and ways to measure student success. He has consistently worked for higher standards and greater accountability. He ordered schools to spend 65% of tax dollars directly in the classroom—not bureaucracy—and required districts to open their financial books so taxpayers can see how their money is being spent. Texas now has the country’s largest teacher performance pay program and has been recognized as a leader in preparing students to graduate high school college- or career-ready. Today student test scores are rising, and a record number of young Texans are going to college.
Texans are safer because Gov. Perry has pursued an aggressive border security strategy that is putting more boots on the ground, more helicopters in the sky, and more resources into the hands of Texas peace officers standing between Texans and the exploding drug-related violence across the border.
Throughout his term in office, Gov. Perry has proven himself to be a leader who does what he believes is right, regardless of what critics may say.
He refused to raise taxes when Texas faced a record $10 billion budget shortfall in 2003. Instead, he was the first Texas governor since World War II to sign a budget that lowered state spending (and has now done it twice). As governor, Perry has used his line item veto to cut over $3 billion in proposed spending.
He led the battle to pass the country’s most sweeping lawsuit reforms, closing the door on junk lawsuits that had been making trial lawyers rich while driving countless doctors either out of the state or the profession all together. Since Texas voters approved these reforms, malpractice claims and premiums have fallen and access to healthcare is increasing across the state as doctors have applied in droves to practice in Texas.
In 2005, Perry signed a historic $15.7 billion property tax cut for homeowners and businesses that also included new taxpayer protections against appraisal increases. In 2009, Gov. Perry secured a tax cut for approximately 40,000 small businesses in Texas and protected the Rainy Day Fund for future challenges.
A fifth generation Texan, Perry grew up the son of tenant farmers in the tiny West Texas town of Paint Creek. The younger of Ray and Amelia Perry’s two children, he was active in scouting and earned distinction as an Eagle Scout. He is the author of a best-selling reflection on Boy Scout values titled “On My Honor: Why The American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For.”
Perry was one of the first in his family to go to college, earning a degree in Animal Science at Texas A&M, where he was also a member of the Corps of Cadets and a Yell Leader.
Between 1972 and 1977, Perry served in the U.S. Air Force flying C-130 tactical airlift aircraft in the Europe and the Middle East. He is a lifetime member of both the NRA and American Legion Post #75.
Prior to being elected Lieutenant Governor in 1998, he served two terms as Texas Commissioner of Agriculture and three terms in the Texas House of Representatives.
Perry married his childhood sweetheart, Anita Thigpen, in 1982. They have two children, Griffin (married to Meredith) and Sydney.
Do you know where you still on the political spectrum? See “Political Beliefs, Where Are You” to find out where you stand.
Update Sept 4, 2011
- Michele Bachmann, Congresswoman from Minnesota
- Herman Cain, CEO of Godfather’s Pizza
- Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House
- Jon Huntsman, U.S. Ambassador to China
- Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico
- Thaddeus McCotter, U.S. Representative from Michigan
- Ron Paul, U.S. Representative from Texas
- Rick Perry, Governor of Texas
- Buddy Roemer, former Governor of Louisiana
- Mitt Romney, Former Governor of Massachusetts
- Rick Santorum, former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania