Perry: ‘My work is done’

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry was asked to discuss his legacy by Evan Smith, the CEO and editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune.

Perry was the final speaker at the Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 21.

Perry believes his legacy will not necessarily be about him.

“I’m apart of a very broad tapestry, if you will, that has been created over the past 14 years. I have had some good partners,” he said. “We just set some policies into place. All of those collectively are what have painted this picture for 14 years that will go forward, I hope, for lots of years into the future.”

When the governor thinks about his impact, he thinks of the young Hispanic whose future did not look bright economically because he had to drop out of high school to support his family.

“Because of the policies that have been put into place; because of innovation that has occurred in the state of Texas — I’m talking about George Mitchell and hydraulic fracturing. That young man today is making $100,000 plus a year working in the oil fields in South Texas.”

This man Perry thinks about is apart of the job creation that has occurred under his tenure as governor. According to the governor, one third of all private sector jobs created in America have been in Texas.

Perry brought a chart to illustrate job creation in Texas against the United States.

“If there is a chart that can tell a story as well as anything this is it,” Perry said. “These are all of the jobs that have been created since 2000 in America. The blue line are the jobs that have been created in Texas, The red graphed are the United States job creation minus Texas. If you took the jobs that Texas has made in the mid-wage quartiles, America would still be a net negative. So the point is what we have done here is really impressive.”

According to Perry’s chart, the highest growth of jobs in Texas has been in the high wage quartile.

Perry was repeatedly asked by Smith, about his recent indictment.

“Everything has been said about it that needed to be said about it,” the governor said. “It’s already been addressed. There’s nothing new to add to it.”

The indictment came from a grand jury that believed Perry abused his powers when he “threatened to veto funding for the state’s public integrity unit unless Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who had pleaded guilty to drunken driving, resigned,” according to The Texas Tribune’s Tribpedia.

Smith asked Perry if he would talk him about this stuff at all and the governor had one response: “no.”

“If I sit here and stare at you, you’re not going to answer me?” Smith asked.

In response, Perry said, “It’ll be a long hour.” Smith bounced off the governor’s comments saying it’s already been long. “I had a date like that once,” Perry said.

“This date is going to go considerably worse, I have to tell you,” Smith said.

The audience enjoyed the banter between Perry and Smith by their laughter.

Another moment of laughter came when Smith asked the governor to discuss the mistakes he had made during his 14 years.

“Be self-aware and tell me one thing or two things or three things that you consider to have been misses over the past 14 years. Things that you wish you had back,” Smith said.

“Three is a bit of a stretch for me,” Perry said in reference to his debate moment where he could not list the three national departments he would eliminate if he were president.

Perry said that have been things that his office has pushed forward where he may have had his heart in the right place, but may have not had his head in the right place. He then specified the executive order that would have required girls to have a vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV).

“The execution was wrong,” the governor said. “I was thinking with my heart instead of with my head knowing that the people of the state of Texas, by and large, want to be engaged in conversation. We’re not real big executive order (types) here.”

Perry thinks it will be “awesome” to see Attorney General Greg Abbott succeed him as governor. He continued on to say that all governors are defined by the events that cannot be predicted, and bets that “we’ll never know” how state Sen. Wendy Davis will handle events as governor.

If there had been something that needed to be done or inspired him, according to Perry, he would have run for re-election.

“My work is done here (as governor),” he said.

After his failed attempt at running for president in 2012, many are speculating based on his trips to important primary states that Perry is considering to run again in 2016. While Perry told Smith he would not be announcing his run today, he will make his decision sometime in 2015.

“I honestly want you to believe that (I have not made up my mind),” Perry said. “It is amazing how much corn there is in Iowa.”