Who is Rick Perry?

by on July 20th, 2010
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I think by now we all know that Rick Perry is the governor of Texas and he is one of those campaigning for the GOP nomination to run for president. We’ve seen him on television, in debates, on campaign signs, and ads all over. But–who is Rick Perry?

I live in Texas. I don’t live under a rock so I’m aware of who Rick Perry is. Let’s do a little research and see if we can find out who Rick Perry really is–the man, the dream, the reality.

James Richard Perry is a fifth generation Texan, born march 4, 1950, the 47th governor of Texas. We can get that on the official Rick Perry Biography page. Perry grew up in Paint Creek, a small town just north of Abilene. His father, a tenant cotton farmer and democrat, was a county commissioner and member of the district school board. According to all accounts Perry’s upbringing and early years were modest. He was active in school, play ed on a 6 man football team, and became an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts.

After graduating from high school in 1968 Perry attended Texas A&M. He graduated from A&M in august of 1972 with a degree in Animal Science. His grade point average was 2.5. Perry was socially active, slightly rowdy, and liked to play practical jokes in college . There was s omething about a chicken in a student’s closet and m80 firecrackers flushed down toilets.

Perry joined the Air force. During his four years of enlistment he flew C-130 tactical and intratheater aircraft. He held the rank of Captain at the time of an honorable discharge in 1977.

Perry returned home where he farmed dryland cotton and other crops. Over the next few years Perry was active as a Regan era Democrat. He married Anita Thigpen, who had been his high school girlfriend. Their son, Griffin, was born in 1983, and their daughter, Sydney, was born in 1986.

Rick Perry began his political career in 1984 when he was elect ed to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat. In 1989 Perry switched parties and became a Republican. After the party switch he ran as a Republican and narrowly defeated Democrat Jim Hightower for Texas Agriculture Commissioner.

In a bitterly contested election Perry became Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1999. George Bush resigned as Governor in 2000 in order to run for president. Thus Perry became Governor of Texas Dec. 21, 2000. This is the position he holds to date–the longest serving Governor in Texas History.

So–that’s it. Rick Perry’s political and public life is pretty much an open book. His private life we’ll never know. I don’t know that it really matters. As a 25 year Texan I can give you my impressions. It’s a funny thing about impressions. They’re not always based on fact, but on what we see and feel. When Rick Perry became a potential presidential candidate I looked on with hope and trepidation. Kind of contradictory, I know.

All I know about Rick Perry is that he appears to be a career politician, cocky, and arrogant. He rides roughshod and speaks without considering consequences. The general feeling is that he is very good to the “clique” around him. His cronies seem to prosper. Not sure the same can be said for the average Texan. State employees have seen budget cuts hacked with a machete. Texas leads the nation in minimum wage jobs. At the same time, during a $15 billion budget short fall, Perry has cost the state over $600,000 renting a sprawling mansion while the arson damaged governor residence is being restored. A lot of questions here. Do we know Rick Perry?

I still look on with hope and trepidation.


Office of the Governor


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