Rick Perry

State Governor
Date Of Birth:
4 March 1950
Place Of Birth:
Paint Creek, Texas
Best Known As:
The governor of Texas, 2000-2015

Name at birth: James Richard Perry

Rick Perry has been the governor of Texas since 2000. Richard Perry graduated from Texas A&M University in 1972 with a degree in animal science. He was a cargo pilot in the Air Force from 1972-77, and then became a cotton farmer with his father. Handsome and charismatic, and a fifth-generation Texan, Rick Perry was elected to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1984, from Texas District 64. In 1989 Perry switched from the Democratic Party to the Republicans, and in 1990 was elected as the state's Agriculture Commissioner, serving for two full terms. He ran successfully for lieutenant governor in 1998, taking office in 1999 under Governor George W. Bush. Perry then became governor himself on 21 December 2000, after Bush was elected President of the United States. Rick Perry was elected in his own right in 2002, and established himself as a favorite of the GOP's right wing: anti-tax, anti-big government, anti-abortion, pro-business, evangelical, tough on crime (he vetoed a ban on the executions of mentally retarded prisoners in 2002), and an outspoken doubter of global warming. He was reelected in 2006 and again in 2010; by the time he was succeeded by fellow Republican Greg Abbott in January of 2015, Perry had become the longest-serving governor in Texas history. Perry made a run at the Republican party nomination for president in 2012; he campaigned actively from August of 2011 until 19 January 2012, when he suspended his campaign after weak showings in early primaries and caucuses.

In his last year in office, in 2014, Rick Perry was indicted on two felony charges -- one count of abuse of official capacity and one count of coercion of a public servant -- after he threatened to veto funds for a statewide public integrity unit run by a prominent Democrat, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, unless she quit her post. (Lehmberg had earlier been arrested for drunk driving, was convicted, and had served 20 days in jail, but kept her job.) The charges against Perry could, theoretically, result in a jail term of up to 100 years. His trial had still not occurred when, in June of 2015, Perry announced that he would again run for the GOP nomination for president in 2016. He then dropped out of the race in September of 2015 after failing to gain traction in a crowded GOP field.

Extra Credit:

Rick Perry married the former Anita Thigpen in 1982. They have two children: a son, Griffin, and a daughter, Sydney. According to the governor’s official state biography, Perry “first met Anita Thigpen at a piano recital during their elementary school years”… Rick Perry is the 47th governor of Texas… He is an Eagle Scout and wrote the 2008 book On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts are Worth Fighting For… His hometown, Paint Creek, is a small town near Abilene in Central Texas… While governor of Texas, he had cameo roles as the governor of Texas in the 2005 comedy Man of the House and the 2011 drama Deep in the Heart… Rick Perry is the author of the 2010 book Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington.

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