James Richard “Rick” Perry (born March 4, 1950) is the 47th and current Governor of Texas. A Republican, Perry was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998 and assumed the governorship in December 2000 when then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become President of the United States. Perry was elected to three full gubernatorial terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Perry is the longest continuously serving current U.S. governor, and the second longest serving U.S. governor after Terry Branstad of Iowa.
A fifth-generation Texan, Perry was born in Paint Creek, about 60 miles (97 km) north of Abilene in West Texas, to ranchers Joseph Ray Perry and the former Amelia June Holt. Perry has a surname of English origin. His father, a Democrat, was a long-time Haskell County commissioner and school board member. Perry has said that his interest in politics probably began in November 1961, when his father took him to the funeral of U.S. Representative Sam Rayburn (D-TX). Perry graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Animal Science in 1972. Upon graduation, Perry was commissioned in the Air Force, completed pilot training, and flew a 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 1984, Perry was elected to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat. Perry supported Al Gore in the 1988 Democratic presidential primaries and chaired the Gore campaign in Texas. In 1989, Perry announced that he was switching parties, becoming a Republican. In 1990, as a newly minted Republican, Perry challenged Jim Hightower, the incumbent Democratic Agriculture Commissioner. In 1998, Perry chose not to seek a third term as Agriculture Commissioner, running instead for Lieutenant Governor to succeed the retiring Democrat Bob Bullock. During this election, Rick Perry had a notable falling out with his previous top political strategist Karl Rove, which began the much-reported rivalry between the Bush and Perry camps.
Perry served as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2008 (succeeding Sonny Perdue of Georgia) and again in 2011. Perry is the longest-serving governor in Texas state history. As a result, he is the only governor in modern Texas history to have appointed at least one person to every eligible state office, board, or commission position (as well as to several elected offices to which the governor can appoint someone to fill an unexpired term, such as six of the nine current members of the Texas Supreme Court).
Perry won the Texas 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary election, defeating U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and – a Tea Party favorite - former Wharton County Republican Party Chair and businesswoman Debra Medina. In the 2010 Texas gubernatorial election, Perry won a third term by defeating former Houston mayor Bill White and Kathie Glass.
Short URL: http://thepresidency.us/?p=115