Rick Perry May Be Speaking Softly but Wielding a Veto Pen This Session

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

The excitement was palpable as Governor Rick Perry strode into the House chamber just over two years ago to make his State of the State speech.

Months before the four-term Republican governor declared his run for president, Capitol observers were parsing his every phrase and praising his uncanny political intuitions. This was a man who served up defeat to a sitting U.S. senator, was an ace at retail politics and had found a sweet spot with conservatives: Washington-bashing.

"The differences between Texas values and Washington's self-serving games have never been more stark than they are right now. The federal government's efforts to accumulate more power by bribing us with our own tax dollars are simply unacceptable," Perry told a chamber crowded with elected officials. "We must continue to call attention to the essential truth of the 10th Amendment and commit these 28 words to memory: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Washington-bashing, however, would not be enough to carry Perry to victory if he intended to jump into the Republican primary. So he laid out an ambitious agenda of emergency items to be addressed in the first 30 days of the session: voter ID, sanctuary cities, sonograms prior to abortions, a federal balanced-budget amendment and additional eminent domain ­protections.

In a weak-governor state, Perry was making a strong-governor statement with red-meat GOP voter issues served on the table. He would eventually sign legislation on all his emergency topics, minus sanctuary cities. Whether it helped much was hard to tell. Perry got a drubbing in his election bid.

Two years later, there's still interest in Perry as a presidential candidate. And as he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, he is "indeed" open to the idea of running again. So why is the governor so missing from the Capitol this session when he was so present the last session? It's just a change in strategy, with all his work behind the scenes.

Read more in this week's feature about how Governor Perry has changed tactics this session.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.