I am going to do something I never envisioned doing when this politician was serving in public office.
Rick Perry has earned my admiration for the job he did as Texas governor, even though I was reluctant to say so in real time.
Two issues stand out for me in the wake of the current trends we are seeing in the Republican Party. Neither of them is a “social issue,” but they appeal to two policy issues that are near and dear to my ticker.
Wind energy and Dreamers.
On Perry’s watch as a Republican governor — which seemed to go on forever — Texas became the nation’s leading producer of electrical energy from wind. Think about that for a moment.
A state that has prided itself on the production of fossil fuels is now the nation’s leader in generating electricity through a clean and renewable source. The wind that howls across places like the Caprock, the South Plains and the Trans-Pecos is producing an increasing amount of electricity.
The explosion of wind farms throughout West Texas occurred on Perry’s watch as governor. I want to applaud the former governor for enabling and allowing wind-generated electricity producers to lift the state’s environmental awareness profile. If only he would have been more out-front on wind power while he served as energy secretary during the Donald Trump administration.
Dreamers? You know who they are, right? These are the individuals who entered the United States as “illegal immigrants” because their parents sneaked them into the country in search of greater opportunity.
Although he didn’t exactly boast out loud about this policy stance, Perry stood firm for the notion of allowing these Dreamers to attend our public colleges and universities as “in-state residents.” That gave them a break on the cost of their higher education. Perry treated Dreamers as Texas residents … which they most certainly are!
That view has become anathema to the MAGA crowd that dominates today’s GOP, which is driving the state’s current lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, to push for a more rigid legislative agenda. Gov. Greg Abbott is marching to the same cadence.
Republicans such as Rick Perry are becoming an endangered species. Believe me when I say that it isn’t easy for me to write that previous sentence.
It is just that Perry’s view of the value of harvesting wind for electricity and his compassionate view of those who were brought here as children make him sound downright reasonable and rational.