Tuesday, 05 April 2011

Rick Perry's Record as Governor of Texas

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Rick Perry. No other two words can spark the ire, or even alarm, of informed Texans and other Americans when considering that the Texas Republican Governor might toss his Stetson into the 2012 Presidential ring. Perry, the 47th Lone Star Governor, holds the record for the longest gubernatorial tenure in Texas history. The reason for the ire and alarm is Perry’s presentation of himself as a fiscal and social conservative. The facts point a different direction.

The former Texas A&M University cheerleader has put his yell skills to the test during his stint as Governor, now in its tenth year. The most obvious piece of evidence, and one of huge concern to Texans and many other Americans who were watching, involves Perry’s tyrannical exploits during the development of his Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) project. Readers will remember that The New American has given extensive coverage to the catastrophic road network, intended to link Mexico, Canada, and the United States into a North American Union (NAU), which will all but destroy parts of Texas — and which Governor Perry claims is dead.

Despite mountains of evidence that the TTC would facilitate the integration of Mexico, the United States, and Canada into the NAU, Perry ignored Texans’ opposition to the Corridor, declaring in December 2005:

Instead of baby steps, I say it’s time for Texas to take a giant leap forward. I think we can build the needed corridors that will connect the Texas cities and towns along the proposed I-69 route to the industrial heartland of Mexico, and the industrial base of Middle America.

But in the next session of the Texas Legislature, which convened in January 2007, Lone Star lawmakers faced such a sustained outburst of opposition from the public that they decided to back off from the TTC. The debates over bills that would have protected Texans were not complete until nearly the end of the state's biennial session — yet the outcome was forced to wait for Rick Perry to return from Istanbul, where he attended that year’s secret Bilderberg meeting. For the Governor to have left the state near the end of a legislative session was appalling, especially when considering that Texas lawmakers would not meet again for another two years; however, when he returned, Perry vetoed the Corridor’s defeat with no time remaining for the Legislature to appeal the veto.

In 2009, however, the Governor, speaking from Iraq, told U.S. reporters that, "The days of the Trans-Texas Corridor are over, it's finished up."

Yet, only last week a bill surfaced in the Texas Legislature to resurrect the tolling mechanism that will fund the corridor projects. The attention has switched from the higher profile TTC-35 Corridor to the I-69 Corridor (which roughly follows the Texas coast on a northeasterly path through the nation), but the issues are still the same. The TTC-35 and I-69 are still being battled, and Texans’ memories are not short when it comes to the eminent domain abuses permitted by Perry in the Corridor's early days. In the 2009 legislative session, a bill that would have gained considerable protections against such abuses was passed by the lawmakers, but allowed to die on the Governor’s desk. Even so, the website of "Slick Rick," as many Texans call him, includes this recent statement that he is protecting Texans’ property rights:

Over recent legislative sessions, we've taken important steps to rebuild the protections Texans once could rightfully depend on.

We've barred the practice of using eminent domain to seize property to give to other private interests, even for economic development.

Today, I'm here to reiterate the need to provide Texas property owners with additional protections from eminent domain abuses, which I declared an emergency item two months ago.

His record on eminent domain issues remains inconsistent at best, and the Trans Texas Corridor which he favors will require eminent domain takings if it is to proceed.

Most Texans however, feel that his posturing about protection against eminent domain is about as sincere as his declaration that the TTC is dead. Even his fellow Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison commented in October 2009:

The Trans-Texas Corridor will not be officially dead until Rick Perry is no longer governor and his political appointees are no longer running TxDOT. Texans can’t trust Rick Perry when it comes to protecting their land from the government, ceasing to lease our highways to foreign companies or ending the Trans-Texas Corridor.

Since then, he’s steadily revamped his image into one calculated to appeal to the conservative viewpoint of limited government. He stated from the Texas Capitol on March 9, 2011 that he is leading the State in asserting its Tenth Amendment rights against encroachments from Washington; but again, a different action was asserting itself in a Senate meeting considering an amendment to call for a constitutional, or Article V convention. Lawmakers in the Texas State House were considering bills that would call for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but called for such an amendment to be added along with a destructive constitutional convention. Not surprisingly, Perry supported a balanced budget amendment at the expense of Texas sovereignty, stating:

I applaud the Texas Senate for taking this important step to reign [sic] in Washington's out-of-control spending, which has put our country on a collision course with economic disaster. We must insist on a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, so Washington will be required to exercise the same fiscal restraint that sensible businesses and families have long employed. I look forward to working with members of the Texas House who share the goal of a federal balanced budget amendment to put the U.S. back on the path to fiscal responsibility.

But Perry’s most shocking move, and the one that made conservatives everywhere gasp, was his 2007 executive order — bypassing the Texas legislature — which decreed that all Texas girls entering sixth grade be forced to take the harmful Gardasil vaccine.

It was soon revealed that Merck, the drug’s manufacturer, was a contributor to Perry’s campaign, and that two of his former staffers worked for the drug company. After the national headlines evoked outrage, especially from Perry’s conservative base, the Governor later permitted a law that undid his executive order.

Throughout the whole of his governorship, Rick Perry has assembled a record full of inconsistencies, which warrants scrutiny, particularly if he makes noises that suggest he’ll take a stab at the White House. Constitutionalist Texans say, a Lone Star he is not.

Photo: Gov. Rick Perry delivers his State of the State speech in the Capitol's House chamber in Austin, Texas on Feb. 8, 2011: AP Images

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