Former Texas Governor Rick Perry Bio, Wiki, Net Worth, Age, Political Career & Everything You Need To Know
James Richard “Rick” Perry, an American politician, was born on March 4, 1950, in Haskell, Texas. He served as the 14 th Secretary of Energy from 2017 to 2019-time interval. He was also the 47th Governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015.
Talking to his Initiation of Politics, He was elected as a governor of Texas in 2000 and remained in office until 2015. He made history as the longest-serving governor in the state.
Perry also made two unproductive bids for the Republican presidential nomination in the 2012 and 2016 elections. In December 2016, he was tapped for the role of US Secretary of Energy elected by President Donald Trump.
|Full Name||James Richard “Rick” Perry|
|Nick Name||Rick Perry|
|Date of Birth||March 04,1950|
|Age||70 (As of 2020)|
|Birth Place||Haskell, Texas|
|Marital Status||Married (Mary Anita Thigpen, m.1982)|
|Children||Griffin Perry and Sydney Perry|
|Education||BS (Texas A&M University)|
|Net Worth||Approx. $4 million (2020)|
Rick Perry Education
As a child boy, Perry was active in the Boy Scouts and eventually earned the highest rank of Eagle Scout. He passed his secondary school life from Paint Creek High School in 1968 and entered Texas A&M University.
He was also known for his many prank’s activities on his classmates. In 1972, Perry earned a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. As a member of the A&M Cadet Corps, he received an order from the Air Force, completed pilot training, and got an opportunity in the C-130 tactical airlift until 1977.
Rick Perry Height and Weight
Rick Perry Family and Childhood
Rick Perry was born in Texas, Paint Creek, a small unincorporated community in West Texas. He was raised by his father, Joseph Ray Perry and his Mother, the former Amelia June Holt.
Soon, He and his father were growing cotton. Rick’s father was also a commissioner on Haskell county for many years who also introduce politics to his son.
Rick Perry Career
Talking about his career, in 1984, Perry was elected for the 1 st time for the Texas House of Representatives. As a Democrat, he served three two-year terms. In 1988, Perry endorsed Al Gore in the Democratic presidential primaries and led the Gore campaign in Texas. In 1989, Perry announced that he would join the Republican Party.
Perry took office as governor of the state in December 2000 when then-Governor George W. Bush reconciled to become president of the United States. Perry was independently elected to a term as governor in 2002, 2006, and 2010.
Perry was best known nationally for supporting his socially conservative views through the Tea Party, which came to light with his advertisement for “The Response USA,” an evangelical Christian prayer rally he sponsored in association with the American Family Association in 2011.
During her campaign, Perry spoke out in favor of a smaller federal government, a flat 20 percent tax, and the development of energy security for the nation. She highlighted her achievements in Texas, especially in the area of job creation, and called for the closure of the departments of education and commerce.
On June 4, 2015, Perry made her second run for president official when she announced that she would run for the Republican nomination in the 2016 election. He let fall out of the race that September after his campaign failed to gain momentum over the summer and found herself at the bottom end of national polls.
However, In May 2016, after dropping out of the race, Perry endorsed Trump and became an active supporter, supporting him in the election campaign. On November 8, 2016, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to win the election as the 45th president of the United States.
Perry supports the death penalty. In June 2001, he vetoed the ban on executing mentally retarded inmates. In 2011, during a televised debate for presidential candidates, he said he had “never wrestled” with the question of the possible innocence of any of the 234 prisoners executed to date while he was governor.
Rick Perry Awards and Achievements
Rick Реrrу has the name of being the most important ruler of all things. Apart from this, Rісk has also obtained other awards, praise, and accolades. Rісk Реrrу received various eagle scout awards from the group of Boy scouts.
Rісk has also been called as the ten most reliable memories of the legal legend of the Dallas Morning News. While dancing in a show with stars, Rick Реrry was placed in position 12.
Rick hаѕ bееn gіvеn Соwbоу Тор оf thе Техаѕ аwаrd Аmеrісаn соwbоу bу thе culture аѕѕосіаtіоn in 2001. Реrrу hаѕ аlѕо been awarded the Gold сіtіzеnѕhір mеdаl Ѕоnѕ bу thе оf Аmеrісаn Rеvоlutіоn ѕосіеtу.
Rick Perry Wife and Children
In 1982, Rick married his beloved girlfriend, Mary Anita Thigpen, who is also his childhood friend since his primary class. They have two adult children, Griffin and Sydney. Anita attended West Texas State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She helped develop and organize the Texas Women’s Conference. Rick also has a beautiful house.
Rick Perry Net Worth
Rick’s wealth source was from his family fortune, his desired work for his nativity, and his success in activities. Rісk has also published some books that also helped in Net Worth. As of 2020, Rick says it’s not worth $ 4 million. In the above story, Rісk is the most important rule. His job is hard and safety is related to his job and nature helps him add this to his.
Perry is a fifth-generation Texan. He grew up in Paint Creek, Texas, on his family's ranch. He was active in Boy Scouts, eventually earning the Boy Scouts of America's Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. While a student at Texas A&M University, he joined the Corps of Cadets and was elected as a yell leader. During college, Perry also worked selling books door to door. ⎗]
After graduating, Perry accepted a commission in the United States Air Force. He completed pilot training and flew tactical airlifts in Europe and the Middle East through most of the 1970s. He retired in 1977 as a captain and returned to Texas to work on his family's cotton farm. ⎗]
Perry entered politics in 1984, winning election to the Texas House of Representatives for District 64. At the time, Perry was a Democrat. ⎘]
In 1989, Perry switched his affiliation to the Republican party. ⎙] The following year, he won election as agriculture commissioner of Texas. He was re-elected to a second term in 1994. In 1998, he ran successfully for lieutenant governor of Texas, becoming the first Republican to hold the office. Perry succeeded to the governorship in 2000 when predecessor President George W. Bush resigned to begin his first term as President of the United States. ⎚]
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EnergyFederal Former Texas Governor Rick Perry Officially Resigns as Secretary of Energy
Announcing his departure from the Department of Energy, Perry said in an official statement via Twitter, “It has been the honor and privilege of a lifetime to serve in the @realDonaldTrump Administration as your Secretary. Thank you to my wife, my children, and to the American people for allowing me to serve. Signing off. – RP.”
Despite calling for the elimination of the Department of Energy during his run for president in 2012 and famously forgetting to name the federal department during a debate, Perry has been lauded by both Democrats and Republicans alike for his leadership and the energy initiatives undertaken since his appointment as Secretary in March 2017.
In recent weeks, Perry has gained public attention for his alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis, currently at the center of the ongoing House impeachment inquiry.
Despite allegations, Perry has denied having any knowledge of alleged actions undertaken by President Trump to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating the business dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden and/or his son, Hunter Biden.
Additionally, Perry has attributed his travel to diplomatic efforts made with the intention of advancing American energy interests in the region, despite previous claims from President Trump that the president’s phone call with the Ukrainian president was undertaken at Perry’s urging.
As the top natural gas producer in the world, the United States has been wielding its energy exports as a tool overseas. Perry oversaw the Department of Energy’s liquified natural gas (LNG) initiative, which is partially aimed at providing gas to eastern European nations like Ukraine.
Negotiations with Ukraine over energy have been of high importance for U.S. foreign policy following Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. A vast number of Russia’s gas pipelines are housed in Ukraine.
Prior to serving as Secretary of Energy, Perry served the state of Texas in a number of capacities, including as a Texas State House representative, the commissioner of agriculture, lieutenant governor, and governor.
A native Texan, Perry served as governor from 2000-2015, making him the longest-serving governor in Texas history.
At the federal level, Perry launched presidential bids in both 2012 and 2016.
In a tweet announcing Perry’s resignation in October, President Trump thanked Perry for the “outstanding job” he did, referring to him not only as Secretary of Energy but as a “friend.”
“Rick was a great Governor of Texas and a great Secretary of Energy,” the president said , before announcing his intention to nominate Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette to be Perry’s replacement.
Previously, Brouillette served as an assistant secretary at the Department of Energy under the George W. Bush administration and as a chief of staff to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Perry bid farewell to those at the department by thanking the men, women, and management of the agency, saying, “God Bless you and may God continue to bless this great country of America.”
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you&rsquod like to become one of the people we&rsquore financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.
As chief executive, the president presides over the cabinet and has responsibility for the management of the executive branch. With the advice and consent of the Senate, the president also has the power to make treaties and to appoint ambassadors, U.S. officers, and judges to federal courts.
|United States Senate|
|President of the Senate||Kamala Harris (D) since January 20, 2021|
|President pro tempore||Patrick Leahy (D) since January 20, 2021|
|Majority Leader||Chuck Schumer (D) since January 20, 2021|
Rick Perry family’s hunting camp still known to many by old racially charged name
P aint Creek, Tex. — In the early years of his political career, Rick Perry began hosting fellow lawmakers, friends and supporters at his family’s secluded West Texas hunting camp, a place known by the name painted in block letters across a large, flat rock standing upright at its gated entrance.
Ranchers who once grazed cattle on the 1,070-acre parcel on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River called it by that name well before Perry and his father, Ray, began hunting there in the early 1980s. There is no definitive account of when the rock first appeared on the property. In an earlier time, the name on the rock was often given to mountains and creeks and rock outcroppings across the country. Over the years, civil rights groups and government agencies have had some success changing those and other racially offensive names that dotted the nation’s maps.
But the name of this particular parcel did not change for years after it became associated with Rick Perry, first as a private citizen, then as a state official and finally as Texas governor. Some locals still call it that. As recently as this summer, the slablike rock — lying flat, the name still faintly visible beneath a coat of white paint — remained by the gated entrance to the camp.
When asked last week, Perry said the word on the rock is an “offensive name that has no place in the modern world.”
But how, when or whether he dealt with it when he was using the property is less clear and adds a dimension to the emerging biography of Perry, who quickly moved into the top tier of Republican presidential candidates when he entered the race in August.
He grew up in a segregated era whose history has defined and complicated the careers of many Southern politicians. Perry has spoken often about how his upbringing in this sparsely populated farming community influenced his conservatism. He has rarely, if ever, discussed what it was like growing up amid segregation in an area where blacks were a tiny fraction of the population.
In his responses to two rounds of detailed, written questions, Perry said his father first leased the property in 1983. Rick Perry said he added his own name to the lease from 1997 to 1998, when he was state agriculture commissioner, and again from 2004 to 2007, when he was governor.
He offered a simple version of how he dealt with the rock, followed by a more elaborate one.
“When my Dad joined the lease in 1983, he took the first opportunity he had to paint over the offensive word on the rock during the 4th of July holiday,” Perry said in his initial response. “It is my understanding that the rock was eventually turned over to further obscure what was originally written on it.”
Perry said that he was not with his father when he painted over the name but that he “agreed with” the decision.
In response to follow-up questions, Perry gave a more detailed account.
“My mother and father went to the lease and painted the rock in either 1983 or 1984,” Perry wrote. “This occurred after I paid a visit to the property with a friend and saw the rock with the offensive word. After my visit I called my folks and mentioned it to them, and they painted it over during their next visit.”
“Ever since, any time I ever saw the rock it was painted over,” Perry said.
Perry’s version of events differs in many respects from the recollections of seven people, interviewed by The Washington Post, who spoke in detail of their memories of seeing the rock with the name at various points during the years that Perry was associated with the property through his father, partners or his signature on a lease.
Some who had watched Perry’s political ascent recalled their reaction to the name on the rock and their worry that it could become a political liability for Perry.
“I remember the first time I went through that pasture and saw that,” said Ronnie Brooks, a retired game warden who began working in the region in 1981 and who said he guided three or four turkey shoots for Rick Perry when Perry was a state legislator between 1985 and 1990. “ . . . It kind of offended me, truthfully.”
Brooks, who said he holds Perry “in the highest esteem,” said that at some point after Perry began bringing lawmakers to the camp, the rock was turned over. Brooks could not recall exactly when. He said he did not know who turned the rock over.
Another local who visited the property with Perry and the legislators in those years recalled seeing the rock with the name clearly visible.
“I thought, ‘This is going to embarrass Rick some day,’ ” said this person, who did not want to be named, fearing negative consequences from speaking on the subject.
The hunting camp was simple in the 1980s, just a cabin with a long table for cleaning fish and deer, a few bunks and a porch set along a riverbank in Throckmorton County. There was a sprawling pecan tree and a water tank for showers, an arrangement that got more elaborate as the years went on.
The camp is secluded, situated on a vast, 42,000-acre ranch that reaches into three counties and is owned and managed by the Hendrick Home for Children Trust. Various parcels of the Hendrick ranch, as it is known, have been leased out over the years for grazing cattle, oil drilling and, since the mid-1970s or so, hunting. All sorts of people have been on the winding, rocky ranch roads over the years — cowboys, ranchers, hunters, fishermen, oil workers, power company workers, wildlife biologists, real estate agents, tax assessors, surveyors, locals and outsiders who have visited the hunting camps that dot the property.
This story is based on interviews with more than two dozen people, including residents, hunters, ranchers, government officials and others who live in Haskell County, where Perry’s boyhood home of Paint Creek is found in neighboring Throckmorton County, where the hunting camp is located and elsewhere in Texas. Ray Perry did not respond to numerous attempts to reach him for comment. The campaign declined a request to make him available.
Most of those interviewed requested anonymity because they fear being ostracized or other repercussions in their small community. Some are supporters of Perry, whose parents still live in Paint Creek. Others, both Democrats and Republicans, are not. Several spoke matter-of-factly about the hunting camp and its name and wondered why it held any outside interest.
Of those interviewed, the seven who said they saw the rock said the block-lettered name was clearly visible at different points in the 1980s and 1990s. One, a former worker on the ranch, believes he saw it as recently as 2008.
As he campaigns for the presidency, Perry often tells of growing up in this tiny community, where farm fields vanish into the horizon and old houses are often abandoned these days rather than sold.
In interviews and speeches, Perry has talked about learning self-reliance from his father, a cotton farmer and county commissioner for many years, and his mother, Amelia, a homemaker. He has talked about a childhood centered on Boy Scouts, school and church.
“Where I grew up was way out in the country,” Perry said in his responses to The Post. “There weren’t many people at all. That’s just the way it was. To some extent college, and to a great extent the Air Force, expanded my worldview. I traveled all over the world — Asia, Europe, Northern Africa — and witnessed the diversity of other peoples and societies.
“I judge folks by their character and ethics. As Governor, I represent a big, fast-growing and diverse state. My appointments and actions represent the whole state, including our growing diversity, such as appointment of the first African-American Supreme Court Justice — whom I later appointed to Chief Justice — and the first Latina Secretary of State.”
But until he joined the Air Force, Perry has said, Paint Creek “was the only world that I knew.”
It was a mostly white world. In 1950, the census counted about 900 black residents out of a population of about 13,000 in Haskell County, numbers that have declined steadily. Most blacks worked as maids or field hands and lived in an across-the-tracks neighborhood in the city of Haskell, the county seat, about 20 minutes from Paint Creek.
Throckmorton County, where the hunting camp is located, was for years considered a virtual no-go zone for blacks because of old stories about the lynching of a black man there, locals said. The 1950 Census listed one black resident in Throckmorton County out of a population of about 3,600. In 1960, there were four in 1970, two in 1980, none. The 2010 Census shows 11 black residents.
Mae Lou Yeldell, who is black and has lived in Haskell County for 70 years, recalled a gas station refusing to sell her father fuel when he drove the family through Throckmorton in the 1950s. She said it was not uncommon in the 1950s and ’60s for whites to greet blacks with, “Morning, nigger!”
“I heard that so much it’s like a broken record,” said Yeldell, who had never heard of the hunting spot by the river.
Racial attitudes here have shifted slowly. Haskell County began observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day two years ago, according to a county commissioner. And many older white residents understand the civil rights movement as a struggle that addressed problems elsewhere.
“It wasn’t the same issues here you were dealing with,” said Don Ballard, the superintendent of the Paint Creek school district. “Certainly were no picketing signs. Blacks were perfectly satisfied with what was happening.”
It is within that context that many people explained the name of the hunting camp.
“It’s just a name,” said Haskell County Judge David Davis, sitting in his courtroom and looking at a window. “Like those are vertical blinds. It’s just what it was called. There was no significance other than as a hunting deal.”
The name “Niggerhead” has a long and wide history. It was once applied to products such as soap and chewing tobacco, but most often to geographic features such as hills and rocks.
In 1962, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names changed more than a hundred such names, substituting “Negro.”
“Typically these were in areas where African Americans were not all that common,” said Mark Monmonier, a geography professor at Syracuse University who wrote a book on the subject of racially offensive place names.
The federal action still left many local names unchanged. In Texas, Lady Bird Johnson, the former first lady, lobbied to change the name of a mountain in Burnet, Tex., that had the same name as Perry’s hunting spot. In 1968, it became “Colored Mountain.” In 1989, the Texas NAACP began lobbying the state legislature to change many more names, such as “Nigger Creek” and “Niggerhead Hill,” although there has been resistance from private landowners, according to news accounts.
In his responses, Perry said the managers of the Hendrick ranch appealed in recent years to federal officials to rename Niggerhead, although the name does not appear on U.S. topographic maps. Monmonier could not find it in a database maintained by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. That suggests renaming the property would be a simple matter for its owners or possibly state officials, Monmonier said.
Chuck Wilson, the manager of the Hendrick ranch, said that particular parcel is now called “North Camp Pasture.”
“It was given the name several years ago,” Wilson said in an interview last week. “Probably, I’m thinking, about five years ago.”
The camp is tucked deep into a rocky, hilly area. It is possible to fly into the area in a small plane, as Perry sometimes did. There are two ways to drive there, from the west by a long, rocky road or from the east by a more passable road that crosses the adjacent ranch and ends right at the camp, about a football field away from the rock. Both of those roads are private. Wilson declined to grant permission for a reporter to visit the camp and instructed workers not to speak to journalists.
It is possible that guests approaching from the east would not see the rock at the gated entrance. In his responses, Perry said he and his guests used the eastern entrance in later years.
“The rock was at the entrance we used in the 1980s,” he said. “We stopped using that entrance in the 1990s, and entered only by Watt Matthews’ ranch where there was a grass landing strip.”
Approaching from the western side, drivers would eventually reach a long, metal gate where the rock stood to the left.
“It just said ‘Niggerhead,’ ” said one person who said he saw the rock in the 1980s and did not want to be named, because he still lives in the area. “That’s all that was on it.”
The rock was about five feet across and three feet tall, smooth and relatively flat, the word in block letters stretching across its surface, said the former worker from the Hendrick ranch, who said he had seen the rock numerous times over the past 30 years.
“I was just so taken aback that it was so blatant, so in your face,” said a person from the Dallas area who visited the camp once in 1990 or 1991 and did not want to be named in a story potentially critical of Perry. “It was just, ‘whop.’ It was a big rock, big enough to write that whole thing out.”
Longtime hunters, cowboys and ranchers said this particular place was known by that name as long as they could remember, and still is.
“The cowboys, when they were gathering cattle, they’d say they’re going to the Matthews or Niggerhead or the Nail” pastures, said Bill Reed, a distributor for Coors beer in nearby Abilene who used to lease a hunting parcel adjacent to the Perrys’. “Those were all names. Nobody thought anything about it.”
When Rick Perry returned to Paint Creek from the Air Force in the late 1970s, Ray Perry, a county commissioner at the time, was determined to introduce his son to people who could bolster a future in politics, Reed said. Ray Perry once borrowed Reed’s hunting lodge, which was big enough for large groups, to host a party for 75-or-so people in the late 1970s or early 1980s, an event Reed described as a political coming out party.
“He was bringing in political leaders, important figures, business leaders . . . big-money people out of Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, where all your big money comes from,” Reed said.
He and others said that the Perrys used their own cabin for smaller gatherings and that some who went there may not have been offended by the property’s name.
“You know, Texas is a little different — you go where it’s comfortable,” Reed said. “ . . . It would have been one thing if they had named it, but they didn’t. So, it’s basically a figure of speech as far as most people are concerned. No one thought anything about it.”
Rick Perry was elected to the state legislature in 1985. Soon after, he began hosting spring turkey shoots and other hunts for supporters and fellow legislators.
Perry was a Democrat serving on the appropriations committee at the time. He was also in the process of forming relationships that would lead to his switch to the Republican Party when he ran for agriculture commissioner in 1989. In two interviews, Brooks, the former game warden, said he could not recall who came.
“One year there’d be four or five. The next might be eight or 10, something like that,” Brooks said. “They’d cook, fish, might kill a wild hog and eat it. They’d just go there to relax and enjoy themselves. He was a very gracious host and, in my opinion, well thought of.”
Brooks said he saw the rock laid down flat by the gate soon after Perry began bringing lawmakers there. Brooks could not recall exactly when. He did not know who moved the rock.
The other local who visited the ranch with Perry during those years recalled the rock standing upright with the name visible. He said it was painted over years later he was not sure exactly when but recalled remarking about the change with friends.
“We kind of laughed about it,” recalled this person, who said he would probably vote for Perry if he wins the Republican nomination. “My recollection is that it was several years ago. We were laughing because he had it painted. Because it had always been there. You couldn’t miss it, right there at the gate going in. We laughed about, ‘Rick’s covering his tracks.’ ”
Perry estimated that he hunted on the property “about a dozen times” between 1983 and 2006. As he rose through the ranks of Texas politics, the rustic camp was renovated, according to people who saw the place in recent years. A second story was added to the old cabin, along with brown wood siding and an outdoor staircase. A bathhouse was added, and power lines, and a low pipe fence was built around the cabin. A new sign had been posted. It read, “Perry’s Camp.”
The rock remained by the gate, the name brushed with a thin coat of white paint. The paint was slightly faded, according to the person who saw it recently.
“That’s something that sticks in my memory,” this person said. “It was kind of a sloppy job. It wasn’t doing what it was intended to do.”
As recently as this summer, the rock was still there, according to photographs viewed by The Washington Post.
In the photos, it was to the left of the gate. It was laid down flat. The exposed face was brushed clean of dirt. White paint, dried drippings visible, covered a word across the surface. An N and two G’s were faintly visible.
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Texas Gov. Perry turns himself in
Texas Gov. Rick Perry was indicted on two felony counts of abuse of power and booked by authorities Tuesday afternoon. He vowed to fight the charges and had a big smile on his face in his mug shot.
Rick Perry's booking photo. (Photo: KVUE-TV via Twitter)
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, turned himself in amid the cheers of supporters at the Travis County Courthouse on Tuesday to face two felony counts of abuse of power.
He was not a contrite defendant.
"I believe in the rule of law," he told the crowd. "We will prevail."
Perry, a Republican who is considering a run for president in 2016, has vehemently denounced the charges in televised press conferences and through his legal team since being indicted on Friday.
"Like a true Texan, he's being pushed and he's pushing back," said Mark P. Jones, political scientist at Rice University. "He's making a conscious decision not just to fight this head-on but to utilize the national attention for political gain."
It's the first time in nearly 100 years that a Texas governor has been indicted. The last one was Democrat James Ferguson, who was convicted and removed from office for vetoing funding for the University of Texas after objecting to some faculty members.
Perry's indictment stems from the drunken-driving arrest last year of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who was captured on video berating officers following her arrest. She served jail time, underwent counseling and returned to her post.
When she refused Perry's call to resign, the Republican governor vetoed $7.5 million in state funding for the public integrity unit overseen by Lehmberg, a Democrat. A grand jury found sufficient evidence to put Perry on trial on charges that his veto overstepped his legal authority.
The two felony charges carry prison sentences of up to more than 100 years, if convicted.
Perry and his legal team say the charges are politically motivated. They say he legally used his veto to withhold funds from someone unfit for office. Democratic leaders in Texas have called for his resignation, but people around the country have backed him.
Perry appeared at the courthouse Tuesday dressed in a dark blue suit, powder blue tie and signature dark-rimmed glasses. Supporters in the crowd, who seemed to outnumber his detractors, greeted him with thunderous applause and chants of "Perry! Perry!" as he stepped forward to make a short statement before going inside to be booked. Backers held signs such as "Keep Calm & Veto On" and "Free Perry," turning the legal procedure into an impromptu pro-Perry rally.
Whereas in previous statements Perry pointed to Lehmberg's actions as justification for his veto, on Tuesday the governor sought to turn the issue into a constitutional fight over government's rights.
"This indictment is nothing short of a an attack on the constitutional powers of the office of governor," he said to loud cheers. "There are important fundamental issues at stake, and I will not allow this attack on our system of government to stand."
Will Hailer, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, said Perry overstepped his powers by pushing Lehmberg to resign. His group has called for Perry to step down.
As if the headlong charge for “tort reform” wasn't bad enough, politicians are now interfering in medical malpractice cases. Former Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry appears to be leading the way. Recently, the Dallas News revealed that as governor of the Lone Star State, Perry used his political influence – across state lines, no less – in order to please a couple of campaign donors. One of them is a surgeon who was under investigation by the state medical board – until Governor Perry intervened.
In this case, the state was not Texas, however, but Oklahoma – making Perry's interference all the more egregious. In 2010, the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision began investigating orthopedic surgeon Steven Anagnost, M.D. over allegations of incompetence. Two years later, the Board filed a formal complaint with the state. The complaint cited nearly two dozen cases between 2008 and 2011 in which Dr. Anagnost had botched surgeries, making errors that left patients paralyzed, in chronic pain and in some cases, dead. Some of these surgeries involved the implantation of a spinal device, known as a dorsal column stimulator. It turns out that Anagnost had a financial relationship with the manufacturer of that device.
At the time the investigation got underway, Anagnost was a named defendant in over 30 lawsuits. Anagnost complained that he was being targeted by competitors, who had approached him in 2005, asking if he would invest in their private clinic, the Tulsa Spine & Specialty Hospital. Anagnost declined the offer, going into practice for himself. He claimed that as a result, he was the victim of a “jihad started to get rid of me,” which he attributed to greed. He told Tulsa Today, “I was doing a better job, my practice was thriving and I was charging less.” Anagnost claimed that he was taking business away from other surgeons, and filed defamation suits against four of them.
Nonetheless, patient lawsuits continued to be filed against Anagnost. According to the Dallas News, Anagnost settled several of the lawsuits. However, he failed to comply with state law when he neglected to report those settlements to the state board. Anagnost also found himself under investigation for Medicare fraud. Allegedly, he billed the federal health care agency for surgeries that were never performed, and overbilled Medicare for other procedures.
As lawsuits piled up, and Anagnost's problems increased, some old friends and acquaintances started coming to his rescue. Among them: one Richard Powell of Knoxville, Tennessee – who had contributed to Rick Perry's previous presidential campaign to the tune of $2500. Anagnost also kicked in $2500 – the maximum contribution from an individual allowed by law. It turns out that Anagnost and Powell's son, Richard Powell Jr., were old chums from high school – a rather exclusive private boarding school in Tennessee. Both Richard Powell Jr. and his wife have significant ties to the Texas GOP. At one time, the younger Powell was the managing director of a prominent Washington D.C. lobbying firm that has spent $400,000 on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry this year alone.
By 2013, the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision had spent $600,000 in its ongoing investigation of Dr. Steven Anagnost. It was at this point that Rick Perry made a personal telephone call to his fellow Republican governor in the Sooner State, Mary Fallin. Perry's position on medical malpractice is well-known. In 2003, he signed a law limiting personal injury awards in medical malpractice cases to $250,000 – which he continues to brag is “the most sweeping tort reform in the nation.”
Apparently, curtailing the rights of patients in his own state of Texas isn't enough. He decided to carry his poison across the state line. When he heard his campaign donor was at risk of losing his medical license for incompetence, Perry called on Fallin – and shortly thereafter, the state medical board's $600,000 investigation of Dr. Steven Anagnost came to an abrupt halt.
Governor Fallin's general counsel, Steven Mullins, met with the board, assuring them that he had no intention of interfering with the investigation. However, according to the board's executive director, Mullins said “Governor Fallin didn’t want any more calls from Rick Perry about this, that Governor Perry said it was a travesty,” and asked about “what would it take to make it go away.” As a result, the board came up with a deal in which Dr. Anagnost was not required to admit to any liability nor surrender his medical license. Anagnost paid a $10,000 fine, and agreed to undergo additional training in order to upgrade his surgical skills and learn about proper billing procedures.
As governor of Texas, Rick Perry was infamous for his “old boy” politics, abusing the power of his office in order to reward friends and punish his enemies. However, his interference in this case takes corruption to a new level. Of course, Mary Fallin is a member of the Republican Governor's Association, and would have had little problem doing a favor for a fellow GOP governor. The entire issue demonstrates not only the level of corruption, but how medical malpractice plaintiffs face an uphill battle.
Despite this blatantly political fix, Anagnost's troubles are not over. Nine of the forty-five lawsuits filed against him since 2005 are still pending. Virginia Buchanan, head of Levin Papantonio's medical malpractice department, says “We use the resources that we've garnered over the 50 years that the firm has been in existence to try to find out why something very difficult, very unfair, and very devastating has happened in [the plaintiff's] life.”
While Rick Perry may have been able to save his pet donor's medical license, not even he can prevent Anagnost and those like him from being held accountable for their mistakes.