Archives: Rick Perry’s record as Texas governor could haunt him

Originally published in September 2011
Simon Nguyen

Rick Perry loves to tout his record as Texas governor. In fact, Perry is basing his whole campaign on the fact that his state has created a net gain of more than one million jobs during his governorship. The longest serving governor of Texas is clearly positioning himself as the savior of the U.S. economy. Yet, Rick Perry’s tenure in Texas has produced just as many controversies as jobs.

In the last GOP debate, Rick Perry’s Republican rivals fiercely went after his other not-so-proud records. Perry’s 2007 executive order that requires young girls to be vaccinated for HPV drew strong criticisms from Michele Bachmann, who suggested the decision was politically motivated. As this is something hugely unpopular with social conservatives and libertarians, it could become a big sore point for Perry in key primary states like Iowa and South Carolina.

Rick Perry’s endorsement of the Texas Dream Act, which allows qualified illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition, and his opposition to building a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border were also strongly challenged at the Tea Party-sponsored debate. While the issue of illegal immigration has been pushed aside by the bad economy, it remains a touchy issue with tea partiers who play a critical role in the Republican primary. Rick Perry’s “soft” stances on illegal immigration could get him into trouble with core GOP activists, whose support is critical to winning the nomination.

Governor Perry’s job creation record is also being put under the microscope. While Texas did create a lot of jobs under Rick Perry’s stewardship, many of them were created by the state’s public sector. Texas has also benefited substantially from Barack Obama’s federal stimulus. According to the Texas Tribune, the state has accepted about $17 billion in federal stimulus money. For someone who thinks government can’t create jobs and stimulus is an abomination, Rick Perry seems to be doing quite the opposite. These revelations certainly leave the governor vulnerable to hypocrisy charges from both his GOP rivals and President Obama.

These controversies are just a sample of what to expect in the coming months. Being the governor of Texas for as long as he has, Rick Perry certainly has his share of political dirty laundry. As the presidential campaign continues to progress, more surprise revelations about the governor are most certain. It is unclear if Rick Perry could weather this political storm.

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