Perry: In Texas, it’s the policies, not the people, that have fueled job growth

Perry: In Texas, it’s the policies, not the people, that have fueled job growth

Under a portrait of Ronald Reagan, Gov. Rick Perry waits to begin speaking at the Texas State Society breakfast in Washington Feb. 20. Photo / Michael A. Lindenberger



WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Perry’s stopped by the Capitol Hill Club for breakfast with the Texas State Society, a crowd of about 100 people made up mostly of Texans living or working in Washington. He was well received there, with many speaking lauding his leadership of their home state, where has been governor 12 years.


Flanked by portraits of Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln, and seeming at ease, Perry’s mostly causal remarks sounded familiar themes: States are America’s “50 great laboratories of innovation.” Texas leads the way in job creation — and that, he said, has more to do with the policies his government and the Legislature have established than the any special characteristic of Texans themselves. “It’s not that it’s us,” he said. “I will submit it’s the policy. … It will work in California and in New Jersey and anywhere in the United States if you have men and women courageous enough (to put those policies in place.)”

Minimum wage proposals? Bad idea, he said. Any policy ought to be tested first for whether it kills or adds jobs. Later, during questions, a single voice attempted to take Perry to task for what the questioner said was an anti-knowledge agenda, citing fights over evolution at the state school board, opposition to scientific claims about climate change and the risk of hydraulic fracking. Ignoring the climate change question, he said the science supports the notion that fracking is safe. And he said evolution fights affect so few Texans it’s not worth all the attention paid to it.


Perry also talked about the changes in Mexico and how the nation’s decision to liberalize its energy policies will prompt many Mexicans now living in Texas to cross the border back home. That, Perry said, is going to create a real challenge for Texas to figure out how to encourage more native Texans to take the jobs the returning Mexicans leave.


“There will be a major exodus of people who came to United States looking for work, they are going back to Mexico for very good jobs,” he said. “… Where are those workers going to come from?”


He spoke at length about his support of the law in Texas to let residents pay in-state tuition even if they are in the country illegally. He said states like Arizona, a hardliner on immigration, needn’t follow Texas’ example. But it was the right call for the Lone Star State, he said. Perry was criticized by some Republicans for defending this law during his abortive attempt to run for president in 2012.


But beyond jobs, the issue that got Perry the most fired up about was diversity. You can see in the video just below Perry talk warmly about the economic value of immigration, and on the pride he takes on having appointed Wallace Jefferson to the Supreme Court. Jefferson was the court’s first African-American justice and later became chief justice. See Mark Curriden of the Texas Lawbook’s story on his retirement last year..

That pride didn’t translate a few minutes later to sensitivity over comments by former rock star Ted Nugent, a 2nd Amendment enthusiast who has campaigning with Attorney General Greg Abbott in the latter’s race to succeed Perry as governor. Nugent recently called Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, a subhuman mongrel. M colleague, bureau chief Todd Gillman, asked Perry whether he had found Ted Nugent’s comments offensive. No offense taken, Perry said. “That’s just…Continued here:


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