Rick Perry


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Republican Rick Perry, 61, of Texas is the longest-serving U.S. governor, having won three elections to lead the second-most-populous state. Perry replaced George W. Bush when Bush won the presidency in 2000. Perry suspended his bid on January 19 and endorsed Newt Gingrich.

A Democrat when first elected to public office as a state representative in 1984, Perry became a Republican in 1989 and won the race for lieutenant governor in 1998. He was elected governor in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

An advocate of limited government, Perry has opposed the introduction of an income tax. He is the only Texas governor since World War II to sign budgets that cut general-fund spending from the previous biennium. He supported an increase in levies on business to offset lower property taxes, a change that has strained state revenue as companies found ways to avoid the extra expense.

Perry backed a bill capping medical-malpractice awards, and after it passed the number of doctors seeking Texas licenses rose. He helped build Republican dominance in the statehouse and engineered the redesign of congressional districts following the 2000 Census. That led to the state delegation’s first Republican majority in more than a century.

James Richard Perry is from Paint Creek, Texas, about 60 miles north of Abilene. His childhood home lacked running water. Perry went to local schools and Texas A&M University in College Station, where he majored in animal science.

An Eagle Scout, he joined the U.S. Air Force in 1972, serving as a C-130 pilot and leaving four years later as a captain. He returned to the family cotton farm in Haskell County.

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Opinion from Bloomberg View

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