James Richard “Rick” Perry (born March 4, 1950) is the 47th and current Governor of Texas. A Republican, Perry was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998 and assumed the governorship in December 2000 when then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become President of the United States. Perry was elected to full gubernatorial terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010. With a tenure in office to date of 10 years, 237 days, Perry is the longest continuously serving current U.S. governor, and the second longest serving current U.S. governor after Terry Branstad of Iowa.
Perry served as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2008 (succeeding Sonny Perdue of Georgia) and again in 2011. Perry is the longest-serving governor in Texas state history. As a result, he is the only governor in modern Texas history to have appointed at least one person to every eligible state office, board, or commission position (as well as to several elected offices to which the governor can appoint someone to fill an unexpired term, such as six of the nine current members of the Texas Supreme Court).
Perry won the Texas 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary election, defeating U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and former Wharton County Republican Party Chairwoman and businesswoman Debra Medina. In the 2010 Texas gubernatorial election, Perry won a third term by defeating former Houston mayor Bill White and Kathie Glass.
On August 13, 2011, Perry announced that he was running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2012 presidential election.
The 47th governor of Texas, Rick Perry grew up in the small community of Paint Creek located along the rolling plains of West Texas. Rick Perry is the son of Ray Perry, a World War II tailgunner who flew 35 missions over war-torn Europe, and Amelia Perry, who provided a loving, nurturing home for Rick and his older sister Amelia. Ray and Amelia Perry started out as tenant farmers, providing a modest upbringing for their children.
Rick Perry grew up without indoor plumbing the first five years of his life, wore clothes hand-sewn by his mother, and was even bathed in a number 2 washtub as a young boy. Perry was one of 13 students in the Paint Creek Rural School’s Class of 1968. He played six-man football, worked on his family farm, and devoted himself to the Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Eagle while in his teens.
Perry was among the first generation in his family to attend college, enrolling at Texas A&M University in the fall of 1968. He joined the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets and was elected twice to serve as an Aggie Yell Leader. Perry graduated in August 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science.
Upon graduation, Perry took a commission in the United States Air Force, flying C-130 tactical aircraft to destinations around the globe, including South America, Europe and the Middle East. In 1977, Perry was honorably discharged from the Air Force with the rank of Captain, and he returned home to the family farm, where they grew dryland cotton, milo and wheat.
During the next few years, Perry would become one of millions of conservative Reagan Democrats, and marry his high school sweetheart, Anita Thigpen, 16 years after their first date.
In 1983, Rick and Anita Perry welcomed a son, Griffin, and their daughter Sydney arrived in 1986…