Perry leaves Texas Capitol for the last time as governor

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Final Preps Underway For Inauguration In Austin.

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – After spending 14 years as the governor, Rick Perry will watch as his successor is sworn into the office on Tuesday. There is something every man and woman holding appointive office in Texas shares, whether sitting on the Supreme Court or serving on the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners.

Rick Perry (R) — has not only become the longest-serving governor in state history, but also ranks among the 10 longest-serving governors in American history, said Eric Ostermeier, a research associate at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, who writes the Smart Politics blog there. “All told, Perry served 14 years and one month, or 5,144 days, good for 10th place on the all-time list of statehood governors since 1787,” Ostermeier writes. Rick Perry sat in his nearly empty office here on Monday, coatless in blue shirt sleeves, as he talked about his record-breaking 14 years in office and said he would decide within five months whether to run for president again.” The New York Times’ Manny Fernandez: http://nyti.ms/15rJuzv – “Gov. Rick Perry, it’s the most significant change in state government since 2003, when Republicans took control of the House for the first time since Reconstruction. The family was invited to the inauguration and is excited about witnessing history. “To be able to say afterwards ‘remember when’ and also to go back and share it with my classroom and three other classrooms because we’re taking pictures and they showed everyone the invitation before they came,” said Julie Gray. “They love Texas history.

It wasn’t until this past weekend that he placed among the top 10, ultimately beating former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson (R), whose tenure was two days shorter than Perry’s. He’s in the 4th grade and that’s when he will get to go to the Capitol and we all love history and we thought we would come and do it.” Just down from the capitol steps, crews have already set up large tents for a big barbecue lunch afterwards, where they are expecting to serve as many as 17,000 people. (©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. Thompson and three others were about a month shy of Perry’s record, but Perry was far behind ninth-ranked former New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, who served nearly 11 months longer. Rick Perry, Republicans have taken their first official step toward fulfilling a pledge to reorganize the team whose investigation led to the charges.” The Houston Chronicle’s Brian M.

In his inaugural speech, Abbott is expected to eschew politics and policy for biography and faith, emphasizing the personal story that he often shared on the campaign trail. Supporters and adversaries don’t want the emergence of Abbott, coupled with the most conservative Legislature in modern times, to turn Austin into Washington. That is one reason his influence will linger for some time, even as Perry leaves office Tuesday after a record 14-plus years as Texas’ chief executive. National politics has been highlighted by the steadfast, no-compromise approach of tea party and other hard-right conservatives in their battles with Democrats and President Barack Obama. The combination of those ubiquitous appointments and Perry’s longevity helped transform the governor’s office from a weakling under the state Constitution to a political powerhouse, helping launch Perry on a second White House bid and offering his successor, fellow Republican Greg Abbott, a strong foundation on which to cement the state’s assertively conservative policies — not to mention the GOP’s political dominance for years to come.

They’re already having dinners at million-dollar homes in the Houston suburb of River Oaks and speed-dialing top Republican money-raisers like Fred Zeidman of Houston. “We don’t just pump oil here, we pump huge amounts of campaign money,” said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, a campaign finance watchdog. They all have pledged to hold the line on spending, perhaps return some tax dollars, put budget requests through the conservative litmus tests and deliver on hot topics like illegal immigration, abortion and gun rights. Perhaps the biggest mistake was a failed attempt to build a massive statewide transportation network, which stirred bipartisan opposition and pushback from environmentalists, property rights activists and the conspiracy-minded who considered the Trans-Texas Corridor part of a clandestine plot toward melding the U.S., Mexico and Canada into a single North American entity. It was unclear Monday why the Mexican governors apparently were not invited, though the Texas Tribune quoted Abbott as saying the attendees still can expect “a level of Hispanic theme in the inauguration.” On Monday, Perry set the stage for the transition by completing a decades-old tradition and handing off the famous Pat Neff Bible to Abbott. Instead, Texas politics will be defined on how well Abbott can coexist with hard-right conservatives who may not be on board with his somewhat boring nuts-and-bolts agenda.

In recent years there has been persistent criticism that Perry abused his powers by rewarding cronies and lavishing state dollars on political benefactors. Texas has been the top go-to state for Republican campaign cash in the past two federal elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, providing approximately $172 million in 2012. In August, the governor was indicted on two felony counts alleging he used his office to undercut the state’s ethics watchdog and thwart an investigation into one of Perry’s pet projects, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Only three other governors have spent more consecutive time in office than Perry: Rhode Island Anti-Federalist Arthur Fenner (1790-1805); Maryland Democrat Albert Ritchie (1920-1935); and New York Republican Nelson Rockefeller (1959-1973).

The governor vehemently denies wrongdoing and his attorneys have fought vigorously — and so far unsuccessfully — to have the case dismissed before going to trial. During the last presidential race, five of the top 20 Republican super-PAC benefactors were Texans, signing over an additional $61 million, the center’s research shows.

When Arizona lawmakers passed controversial legislation that would allow local police officers to target and stop persons suspected of being in the country illegally, Perry and others had to resist such measures in the Lone Star State. Perry has still been blessed with good fortune throughout his 30 years in political life, not least during his time as governor, when the energy economy boomed; even if he didn’t put Texas’ abundant natural resources into the ground, he reaped considerable political benefit from their extraction. “In Texas, dove hunters say shoot everything that flies, claim everything that falls,” said Wayne Slater, a longtime political writer and columnist for the Dallas Morning News, who recently retired after covering five Texas governors. “That’s what politicians do.” Perry is all chesty swagger, evoking the archetypal Texas cowboy.

Abbott has to strike the right balance between implementing the wish list from the controversial GOP platform and working on bipartisan issues that are more pressing while appealing to a broader audience. For instance, the new governor could sign an open- carry gun bill into law, if the legislators pushing the measure ride with him on a transportation bill. And looming just over Abbott’s shoulder is the state’s freshly elected lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, a media-savvy favorite of the powerful “tea party” movement, whom some see as a possible primary challenger in 2018. Family will also count for Rand Paul, whose father was a Texas representative, and the state’s junior senator, Ted Cruz, may also make a presidential bid.

And don’t forget about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whose Dallas Cowboys fandom means he probably can at least count on team owner Jerry Jones for a little cash assistance. He said he’s getting calls from donor friends who want to help one of the would-be candidates, and calls from the would-be candidates’ aides who want help from his donor friends. Bush’s two elections and has strong relationships with several of the men now weighing campaigns. “I don’t think you’re going to see this whole state get behind any single candidate,” he said, “not with so many of them who have strong Texas roots.” Dallas businessman Ray Washburne has signed on to raise money for Christie. Cruz, who toppled David Dewhurst in 2012 thanks to his small-donor Tea Party appeal, has been rushing to make connections with Houston’s business elite donors, the Houston Chronicle reported this month. The billionaire Dallas investor wrote checks to super-PACs backing Perry and then Rick Santorum (who also may run again) in the previous presidential primary.

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