by Mary Tuma
At the Holt Catepillar plant in San Antonio, Perry announced today he would not seek reelection in 2014. At the same time, he didn’t rule out the possibility of stepping into the presidential ring for a second run.
“I will spend the next 18 months working to create more jobs, opportunity, and innovation. I will actively lead this great state. I’ll also pray and reflect and work to determine my own future path,” said Perry.
Gov. Rick Perry announced he won't seek another term as Texas governor in San Antonio today. Photo by Mary Tuma
While boasting about the Texas economy and state’s (arguable) job growth, Perry also alluded to calling as many special sessions as needed to tackle issues like transportation and abortion. Texas will continue to be a “pro-life, pro-freedom” state, said Perry. Outside the plant, a group of activists came out with homemade signs to protest Perry's policies, including the heightened push to enact stringent abortion regulations that would severely limit access.
Perry, whose governorship has been criticized for its perceived cronyism and pay-to-play atmosphere, chose Holt as evidence of a business with job growth in the state. The company has both given generously to the Perry campaign and has received lavish tax breaks from the governor. From 2001-2011, CEO Peter Holt donated more than $537,000 to the Perry campaign and the governor appointed Holt to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in 2005, according to Texans for Public Justice. Perry also awarded two Texas Enterprise Fund grants worth a combined $9.7 million to Caterpillar to open factories and the company received an estimated additional $70 million in exemptions and tax breaks for their first project.
As for another presidential bid, Perry remained relatively coy, saying, “Any future considerations, I will announce in due time and I will arrive on that decision appropriately.” Perry’s unsuccessful run for president during the 2012 elections was marked by verbal gaffes and blunders, including an infamous moment during the Republican debates in which the Texas governor forgot the name of the third agency he would eradicate if elected president.
Pro-choice activists come out to protest Perry's anti-abortion policies. Photo by Mary Tuma.
Democrats and progressives celebrations statewide may be dampened by the knowledge that it’s likely that Attorney General Greg Abbott– who mimics the Governor when it comes social policy and a disdain for the federal government– will run for Perry’s place.
The longest serving governor in Texas history, Perry took the gubernatorial helm in 2000, replacing former president George W. Bush as he stepped aside to run for president. There are no term limits for governorship in Texas.