After serving 14 years as the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry is now out of office but looking ahead to bringing his message of job creation across the country.
“We had a good go of it,” Perry told the New Hampshire Journal in an interview Thursday ahead of his two-day visit to the state next Wednesday and Thursday. In his first visit since early November, Perry will be featured at several political events and at least one business roundtable. Perry has said he intends to announce his decision on running for President in May or June.
For Perry, the message is all about consistency – in domestic policy and job creation, and in foreign policy.
He issued a reminder that Texas “led the nation in job creation” during his service as governor. “Almost one-third of all of the jobs created in the United States were created in Texas, and it’s not solely a part of the oil and gas industry. We are a very, very diversified state now.”
But the issue of the week among likely Republican contenders has been vaccinations, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul have spent much time explaining their positions.
“It’s an important issue when you start talking about the health of the country,” Perry said, “and my over-arching message is that elected officials, such as governors, and no matter who they may be, have a responsibility to the public to provide good, thoughtful information about this and engage in conversations in an effort to make our community safer and protect our children.”
Perry answered a report this week that as governor he signed into law an exemption that allowed parents of elementary or high school age children to decide not to vaccinate them “for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief.”
Perry said his action should be put into “context.”
He said the exemption “was placed into an omnibus piece of legislation that consolidated all the health and human services agencies. I would not have vetoed that piece of legislation just to get at that very minute line or paragraph in that large piece of legislation. And I would support the Texas Legislature if it decided to tighten that language and that law.”
Perry said he “had a focus of increasing vaccinations in the State of Texas,” noting that the vaccination rate was only 65 percent in 2002 and rose to more than 95 percent in 2014. “The results were reflective of my interest.”
He also said that his wife, Anita, is a former National Chairman for the March of Dimes childhood immunization program.
Perry also faced criticism during his first run for President when he required young girls to be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) in 2007. Conservatives charged it would encourage promiscuity. Perry, when he launched his presidential bid, called his prior action a mistake and said he supported the Texas Legislature’s decision to overturn it.”
But in the current controversy, Perry is unwavering.
“There is overwhelming evidence that the appropriate way to stave off illnesses and diseases that can be incredibly costly and dangerous to our children is through vaccinations,” he said.
“Consistency” key in foreign, domestic policy
Perry said that national security and terrorism “are very much on people’s minds, when you see events like what occurred in Paris and the Jordanian pilot who was incinerated. That obviously draws great concern and attention of the American people.
“With that said, however, if you are out of a job and don’t have the dignity of taking care of your family — and there are millions of people in that situation – this group, who we refer to as the uncounted, is of great concern to me and people all across the country.”
Perry believes he has a model for job creation that can be applied nationally.
“My home state for two years in a row led the nation in total exports,” he said. “We passed California as being number one in high-tech exports in the nation. And I’d suggest that through the ebb and flow of foreign affairs, and as this administration is rightly criticized for their lack of an accountable foreign policy, which has been referred to as feckless many times, and I agree with that.
“We need a cogent and thoughtful and consistent foreign policy and a pro-job creation mentality out of the White House. That is what Americans are going to be looking for in 2016,” he said.
“I don’t think they are going to make a minor shift. If last November was any indication, there is going to be a substantial shift away from an first-term U.S. Senator who had no executive experience. We will not follow that path.”
He said Americans are going to be looking for a “tested, results-oriented” executive.
Perry supports tax cuts for all and for corporations.
“If you want more of something, tax it less and if you want less of something, tax it more,” he said. “Apparently, the President wants less jobs by raising taxes.”
He also called for cutting regulations, and for education curricula focusing on the creation of a skilled workforce. And, said Perry, “Washington should finally respect its limited role that our founders had envisioned for it.”
He said the 10th Amendment “is an important concept and I intend to have a conversation with the American people about it. Washington needs to be less consequential and one way to do that is to reduce the tax burden. That includes corporate taxes, which are as high as anywhere in the western world.”
He said he also supports the Keystone XL pipeline as a way to “create jobs and drive down the cost of power.”
He said those are the elements for an economic “renaissance.”