Texas Conservative Coalition President State Rep. Wayne Christian has endorsed Governor Rick Perry for President. Rep. Christian is one of the most conservative members of the Texas Legislature and has consistently been ranked as such by outside groups over his years in office. This is no easy accomplishment in Texas.
In fact, this past legislative session, Rep. Christian was ranked the most conservative House member by the Texas Eagle Forum in their 2011 Conservative Legislator Rankings, receiving a score of 100%.
Below is the jump is Rep. Christian’s letter endorsing Governor Rick Perry, focusing in on Governor Perry’s character and leadership.
I believe Governor Rick Perry would be dynamite (which means “great” in Texas) as President of the United States. Having served approaching two decades in the Texas House, I have worked with Rick Perry during his service as Agriculture Commissioner, Lt. Governor and Governor of the State of Texas, and have come to appreciate his style of leadership, responsiveness to constituents, and character.
He has consistently presented an open door to this representative from rural East Texas. More than once, he has been willing to listen to my ideas, and then as a result of his endorsement and personal involvement, rules were changed, laws were instituted and funding was made available that benefited my constituents and all of Texas. Many times he opposed more powerful individuals and groups who could provide him much more financial support and power than could the “common folk.” These common folk were the good people of Texas who depended only on his integrity to simply do the right thing.
Governor Perry is in no way perfect. He has made errors. As we say in Texas, the only person who was perfect was crucified a couple of thousand years ago. With that being said, after a quarter century in politics, Rick Perry’s record shines better than most. Of course he was once a Democrat and Republicans may criticize him for that. However, the Governor is not the only Texan, who after entering into public service, experienced the Democratic Party’s dramatic shift away from principles consistent with rural, conservative values, and chose to do something about it–He became a Republican.
I was the first Republican from East Texas to enter the Texas House and remained the Republican with the most Democratic district in the Texas Legislature for three sessions. Many times folks in Republican circles are quite taken aback when I do not raise my hand when asked, “Who has always voted in a Republican primary?” Fact is, as recently as a couple of decades ago, we had no Republican primary in my part of rural Texas. Thus, Governor Perry, who entered state politics farther back than me, was courageous enough to take a stand early on and join other statesmen like Ronald Reagan and Phil Gramm in acknowledging that the Democratic Party had left their conservative beliefs behind.
Much has been criticized of Governor Perry’s initial support for the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC). As President of the Conservative Coalition of the Texas Legislature, I was deeply involved in that entire process. My rural district was directly in the path of the TTC and the project was largely viewed by my constituents as an abuse of the governmental power of eminent domain.
Truth is, the TTC started as a expansion on the I-35 corridor. The plan was added to legislation by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) as a new “branch” of highway that ran from south Texas to the north right through my district. TXDOT presented facts that upon the completion of the Panama Canal expansion many of the trading freighters, which currently only serve the West Coast, would be able to bring their cargo to Texas ports. It was anticipated that this would place a tremendous burden on the current highway system as it heads north. However, the flawed TXDOT presentation of the plan and threats to private land ownership were not handled well. Citizens throughout Texas were insulted by the methods of potential property seizure, foreign control of Texas properties and other abuses. It was wrong, and when presented with the will of Texas citizens, Governor Perry put a stop to it.
While driving my daughter back to begin a new semester at Baylor University, I received a call from the Governor’s office requesting that I invite a group of my fellow Texas Conservative Coalition legislators to his office to meet with him and TXDOT leadership. The following week several of us met with Governor Perry and the TXDOT Commissioner and Executive Director to share the frustration and opposition of our constituents across the state to the TTC. After a lengthy meeting, Governor Perry did something that has made me respect him as I have no other leader which I have observed or served alongside. He sat back in his chair, gave our arguments thought and said, “Tell your constituents you talked to the Governor, and the Trans-Texas Corridor is no more.” To this day, the handful of legislators in attendance at that meeting have respected Rick Perry–a man who was confident, honest, and exhibited absolute integrity to his citizens. He often does not receive the proper recognition and credit he deserves for his decisive response to the will of Texas citizens against the TTC. When presented with their objections and opposition, he brought a halt to the ill-conceived TTC. This is in stark contrast to our current President who sees the destructive results of his policies and has no intention of admitting fault or changing course, but instead blames everyone else for his errors in judgment.
From his action to end the TTC to his signature on legislation to protect the rights of coastal property owners struggling to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of a hurricane, Rick Perry has responded to Texan landowners’ concerns about private property rights. I was one of those 125 landowners who faced a loss of property to be determined by a governmental agency’s assessment of where grass grew before and after a hurricane. I applauded Governor Perry as he stood with the Texas House and Senate (and eventually the Texas Supreme Court) against some very vocal oppostion to sign into law Rep. Hamilton’s bill preventing a potential land grab by the state. In this past session, Governor Perry declared eminent domain reform legislation an emergency item and saw it all the way through the legislative process until he signed it into law, strengthening the rights and protections of private property owners across Texas.
If ever there was a day we needed a leader in this country who does not place his pride and ego ahead of what is proven to be the will of the people and in their best interest…this is the day. A real leader who puts what is best for his citizens ahead of personal pride and opinions is what America needs.
Governor Perry stood against the temptation to use two of the worst hurricanes in Texas history to increase taxes and unnecessarily increase the burden on Texas families and businesses. He led by proposing to utilize the Obama stimulus funding for one time expenditures only (ie. to address hurricane damages), and avoid the creation or expansion of programs that future Texans would have to fund. Handing out the bacon would have been the response of many politicians who were given the opportunity to appropriate billions of federal dollars, but Rick Perry did not choose that course, and even refused federal money that had strings attached for future state spending obligations. He proved to be a leader who thought first of the impact to taxpayers in the future above the opportunity to start more government programs.
The single accomplishment that earns more of my respect for Rick Perry than any other is that he has vetoed more bills than any other Texas governor (and not because of how long he has served). As a legislator, I realize how hard and expensive it is to get a bill passed. From one committee to another to the House floor to Senate committees, to Senate floor and back to the House again–passage of any piece of legislation is a long, costly road with a great investment of money, time, expertise, and reputation. Governor Perry has vetoed a particular bill of mine that I still believe was extremely important, and to this day, I respectfully disagree with him. Yet, his individual courage and strength to stand alone on principle against the majority of the Legislature and powerful, rich special interest groups who can turn political contributions on and off proves the character of this man and that is why I want him in the White House.
I can give example after example of times when Governor Rick Perry stood on the side of “the little guy” over government expansion. There are many paths to more financial support and more power that are achieved with much less effort than standing with the common man over the rich and powerful. As Representative of a poor, rural district I can tell you Governor Perry has stood for us and what was best for Texans many times.
As I mentioned at the start of my comments, Perry isn’t perfect, but unlike many politicians, he is brave enough to stand firm when he believes he is right, and courageous enough to admit when he is wrong. There can be no doubt that Texas under Governor Perry’s leadership has done something right over the past decade, as we are undoubtedly the leader in jobs and business opportunities in the Free World. Texas has seen an increase of 1 million new jobs during Rick Perry’s tenure as governor, while the rest of the nation has seen a loss of 2.5 million jobs, and over 70% of our job creation is in the vibrant and growing private sector of Texas. That stewardship is sorely needed in D.C.
The quote from President Harry Truman, “the buck stops here,” is true of any great leader. Governor Perry has proven that when the buck stops at whatever desk he is sitting, there’s a heap more good than bad. Our nation would be well-served to have a leader like Rick Perry as our President, a man who has proven his ability to successfully foster a job-creating economy while reining in government growth, as well as someone who has learned from past errors and demonstrated the genuine desire to be responsive to the people he represents.
Thank you for your time,
You can show your support here for the most conservative member of the Texas House by donating to his reelection campaign!