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 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.