Rick Perry biography

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Quick Facts

  • NAME: James Richard Perry
  • OCCUPATION: Governor
  • BIRTH DATE: March 04, 1950 (Age: 61)
  • PLACE OF BIRTH: Paint Creek, Texas
  • ZODIAC SIGN: Pisces

Best Known For

Republican politician Rick Perry was elected governor of Texas in 2000, and in 2011 announced he would seek the Republican nomination for the 2012 presidential race.


Republican politician Rick Perry was born on March 4, 1950, in the small community of Paint Creek, Texas. After graduating from Texas A&M; University in 1972, Perry worked as a salesman, Air Force officer and cotton farmer. He was elected governor of Texas in 2000. In April 2011, Perry announced he would run for the Republican nomination for president of the United States in the 2012 presidential election.

Early Life and Education

A Texas native, Rick Perry was born on March 4, 1950, in Paint Creek, a tiny unincorporated community in West Texas. His father, Joseph Ray Perry, and mother, the former Amelia June Holt, were ranchers. Perry's father also served as the Haskell County commissioner for many years and introduced his son to politics. As a boy, Perry was active in the Boy Scouts, and eventually earned the highest rank of Eagle Scout. He graduated from Paint Creek High School in 1968 and entered Texas A&M; University. During college, Perry became one of A&M;'s five yell leaders (analogous to male cheerleaders). He was also known for his many pranks played on fellow classmates. In 1972, Perry graduated with a bachelor's degree in animal science. While in college he also joined the Corps of Cadets and earned a commission in the Air Force, completed pilot training, and flew C-130 tactical airlift until 1977. He left the Air Force with the rank of captain and returned to Texas. Soon he had entered the cotton farming business with his father.

Political Career

In 1984, Perry was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. As a Democrat, he served three two-year terms in office. In 1988, Perry supported Al Gore in the Democratic presidential primaries and chaired the Gore campaign in Texas. In 1989, Perry announced that he was switching to the Republican party. The next year, as a newly minted Republican, Perry challenged Jim Hightower, the incumbent Democratic Agriculture Commissioner, and won. He served as the Agriculture Commissioner until he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998. He assumed the governorship in December 2000 when then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become President of the United States. Perry was elected in his own right to full gubernatorial terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Political Views

Perry promotes himself as a social conservative. He supported a successful Texas Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2005. He also signed both parental notification and parental consent legislation for pregnant minors seeking abortions. In 2003, Perry signed the Prenatal Protection Act, which explicitly included fetuses in its definition of human life. Perry is also strongly against embryonic stem cell research. Perry came to national attention through the Tea Party's support of his socially conservative views, which came to light with his promotion of "The Response USA," an Evangelical Christian prayer rally he co-sponsored in 2011 in partnership with the American Family Association.

Personal Life

Perry grew up in the Methodist church, and he and his family had been members of Tarrytown United Methodist Church since the 1990s, the same church that President George W. Bush attended in Austin. In 1982, Perry married Anita Thigpen, his childhood sweetheart whom he had known since elementary school. They have two grown children, Griffin and Sydney.

Rick Perry has written two books: On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts are Worth Fighting For (2008) and Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington (2010).

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