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 classical conservative values. Under Governor Perry’s leadership, lawmakers recently passed a $153 billion budget, financing:
- a $3 billion cancer research fund
- a health opportunity pool that will help more Texans buy private health insurance
- more college financial aid
- a new incentive program for colleges and junior colleges
- $100 million to border security
Additionally, Governor Perry signed a school finance reform package that provides a 33 percent school property tax reduction, $2,000 pay raise for teachers, record funding for classrooms and a reformed business tax.
Governor Perry also signed the nation’s most sweeping lawsuit reforms, which stand as a national model for addressing skyrocketing malpractice insurance rates. Many hospitals and doctors subsequently experienced insurance savings. Obstetricians and specialists are returning to practice in previously high-risk areas and physicians from across the country are moving to Texas to practice medicine.
Starting with his election as lieutenant governor in 1999, Rick Perry has worked to build a stronger safety net for the poorest of the poor. The number of children with health insurance under Medicaid and CHIP has more than doubled since 1999. He is also working to expand opportunities for the private sector to offer health insurance, and signed legislation allowing small businesses to pool together to offer affordable health insurance policies.
Additionally, the governor has proposed the most visionary transportation plan in the nation – the Trans Texas Corridor – which provides thousands of miles of new roads and rail lines, and room for petroleum, electric and water lines and broadband technology. This proposal, along with new renewable energy requirements and emissions reduction legislation will help clean the air in urban areas.
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.