Lunch with Governor Rick Perry at the Mansion and his Farewell from Office
by Sonja Harris on January 18, 2015 at 10:51 AM
It’s not every day you get invited to the Governor’s mansion for lunch. As luck would have it, I had to decline our first invitation due to my husband’s surgery. But a couple weeks later, I received the same invitation and jumped at the opportunity to attend on December 16, 2014. I knew this was going to be a special time since Governor Rick Perry will not be returning to the Governor’s Mansion in January. On January 20, 2015, Governor Perry steps down and Greg Abbott will serve as our 48th Governor.
Interesting how some events bring a flow of memories, and this one definitely was that sort of occasion. I have been a Perry aficionado for some time now and my brain begun to journey backward into the Perry events that I found memorable.
Perry became governor after George W. Bush resigned in December 2000 to run for the presidency of the United States. Perry was first elected to governor on November 5, 2002, and he managed to win again in 2006 and 2010.
We attended Perry’s Inauguration on January 11, 2011 and were delighted with the festive atmosphere. Perry was his usual ebullient self and seemed to really enjoy his ‘party’. Regrettably he didn’t take the time to visit with his 6,000 guests. It was a grand ball.
Of course, if you are a true Perry fan you follow him to Iowa and help stir up the Republican base for the Iowa primary. Unfortunately, no matter what I said to the over 200 delegates staring at me in that long cold room, they were not convinced to vote for him.
It didn’t happen, and I still remember being extremely disillusioned, along with the other volunteers, but probably not as disappointed as Perry himself. He was so visibly shaken by his loss that he announced he would not continue to the next stop. A silence fell on the entire crowd of supporters and the ‘party’ we were supposed to attend vanished, and instead, after his unclear announcement, we all went back to our rooms. We try to wipe out the memories we don’t like, and this was one of those times. The following morning, Perry made another announcement that he would go on. In my opinion, he dealt his fatal blow. You either go on or you don’t. You know something like ‘those who hesitate, lose’.
Regardless, these are also those times that give you pause to reflect on how brave you have to be to run for president and just how resilient you have to be to be in politics. Politics is not for the weak.
On July 8, 2013, in San Antonio in front of a few staunch supporters and a bevy of journalists and photographers, he announced that he would not seek reelection in 2014. Actually many were expecting him to announce that he was running for president, that was not the case. After his short statement, he went toward his family and I watched him pick up his grandbaby and give him a tender kiss. This was a loving moment, and I felt especially fortunate to capture it with my camera.
Perry has been a dedicated pro life governor, and among the many bills that he has signed into law, was HB2 protecting the unborn after the fifth month of pregnancy and giving women safer procedures. Follow this link if you want to read the bills he signed while in office: http://governor.state.tx.us/news/bills/
Last week, in front of the Texas legislature, supporters and friends, Governor Perry gave his farewell speech in the Texas House Chamber. He wished Texas well. Some of his comments that saw favor with the media were, “Texas has done more to secure the border than any other state in the nation. And as long as Washington will not secure the border, Texas will be up to more to the task.” On bipartisan support, “I believe that we are at our best when we get beyond our differences and attempt to seek common ground. I speak to members of my own party and ask that you do not place purity ahead of unity.” He went on to say, “There is room for different voices, for disagreement. Compromise is not a dirty word if it moves Texas forward.” His stated, “If members of this body will work across party lines, put Texas first, I believe the best is yet to come.” His farewell statement was, “Be true to Texas always, and She will be true to you.”
I might add I totally enjoyed his comments on the arts. He made sure that the government was not credited for the arts programs in Texas but the results of the policies enacted in the legislature.
I wish Governor Perry all the best in his new endeavors…something tells me we haven’t heard the last of him. And as always....things change!
GOVERNOR RICK PERRY FAREWELL SPEECH