Current Weather
The Spy FM

5 Things You May Not Know About Rick Perry

Filed by KOSU News in Politics.
December 14, 2011

The eyes of Texas have been upon James Richard “Rick” Perry ever since he boot-scootin’ boogied onto the public-service stage. Now political observers are watching Perry’s fortunes fluctuate as a Republican candidate for president.

Political junkies have followed the career of Perry — an Eagle Scout, veterinary student and son of a farmer and a bookkeeper — from his initial election as a Democrat to the state House of Representatives in 1984, and they studied his stint as Texas co-chair of the Al Gore for President campaign in 1988. They watched him as he changed parties in 1989.

Perry was successful on the Republican side of the aisle as well, going on to win elections as head of the Texas Department of Agriculture in 1994 and lieutenant governor — under Gov. George W. Bush — in 1998. When Bush became president, Perry two-stepped in as governor in 2000 and has been re-elected ever since.

The Lone Star cognoscenti will tell you that Perry is pro-gun, anti-abortion and an opponent of same-sex marriage. He believes in cutting taxes, rolling back regulations, balancing the budget and increasing domestic energy production. And here are a few other things folks will tell you about Perry that you might not know:

1) He helped build the annual Aggie Bonfires. As a college student at Texas A&M University, Perry was on the construction crews of the traditional bonfires built each season before the rivalry football game with the University of Texas. When a 40-foot tower of logs collapsed in 1999 and killed 12 people, Texas A&M stopped sanctioning the yearly event. At the time, Perry — then lieutenant governor — was asked about the tragedy. He explained the tradition to the New York Times: “This is an extraordinary coming together of the student body to build this bonfire. … It is very much a part of Aggie lore and traditions and values. It represents great teamwork. It represents friendship.”

2) He once made lawn mower safety a campaign issue. When incumbent Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower cut his finger on a lawn mower blade in 1990, challenger Perry told The Associated Press: “This incident fully emphasizes his total lack of common sense. … It’s probably a good thing Hightower is not a farmer, because there are machines much more dangerous than lawn mowers on the farm, like shredders and bush hogs and balers.”

3) He had to settle for just being governor. “Texas constitutional and statutory law give more formal power to the lieutenant governor than to the governor,” says Harvey Tucker, a political science professor at Perry’s alma mater, Texas A&M. In times past, Tucker explains, “a Texas lieutenant governor who became governor — when that position became vacant — might want to retain the title and power of lieutenant governor while serving as governor.” But in November of 1999, the Texas Constitution was amended to prevent anyone from serving as both lieutenant governor and governor. Tucker adds: “Rick Perry was the first lieutenant governor affected by this change.”

4) He loves The Wizard of Oz. “During our interview,” wrote veteran Perry watcher Paul Burka in a 2002 Texas Monthly profile, Gov. Perry “mentioned that his ‘favorite movie of all time’ is The Wizard of Oz. For him it has lessons that translate to politics. (No, no, it’s not that you can get along without a brain.) To Perry, political power is often an illusion, a little man behind a curtain projecting an image.”

5) He is a record-setter. According to Harvey Tucker, Perry holds state records for a) total time serving as Texas governor and b) consecutive time serving as Texas governor. He has been governor since Dec. 21, 2000. The previous record for total served, eight years, was held by Republican William P. Clements, who was in office January 1979 to January 1983, and January 1987 to January 1991. The previous record for total years served consecutively, nearly six years, was held by Republican George W. Bush, who was governor from January 1995 to December 2000. To boot, Tucker says, Perry continues to extend both records. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

7PM to 8PM Folk Salad

Folk Salad

Folk Salad Hosts Richard Higgs and Scott Aycock play an eclectic mix of Folk, Singer/songwriter, Americana, Bluegrass, Blues, Red Dirt, and anything else we happen to like that week.

Listen Live Now!

8PM to 9PM For the Sake of the Song

For the Sake of the Song

Greg Johnson, owner of The Blue Door in Oklahoma City gathers the best Red Dirt musicians in the region for his show.

View the program guide!

9PM to 12AM SpyLab


Katie Wicks is our resident international superstar DJ. She hosts SpyLab, a dance mix show on Saturday nights and co-hosts the largest weekly dance party in OKC, Robotic Wednesdays. She has had two original dance songs chart in the World Top 100 Beatport charts. She has been hired to DJ in L.A., NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Portugal, Spain and Costa Rica.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center