When I arrived at the Texas Public Policy Foundation on January 1st, 2003, I was coming from the best job I’d ever had: policy director for Governor Rick Perry. Still a young lawyer with a penchant for liberty and policy, I felt deeply privileged to have served with a leader in the fight for freedom, and a true Texas patriot. Since then, being President and CEO of this Foundation has moved into first place as the best job I’ve ever had — but my time with the Governor will always have a special place in my heart.
What an extraordinary man.
What an exceptional leader.
What an unquestionable champion of our Lone Star State.
Today, Rick Perry announced that he will not run for reelection next year — and that he will therefore surrender the Governorship of the greatest state in the nation to his successor in January 2015. I don’t have to tell you that this is an epochal change, and the end of an era. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed away after a record-breaking twelve years in office, there was an entire generation of Americans who had never known any President but him. When Rick Perry leaves the Texas Governorship in 2015, he’ll have beat FDR’s executive tenure by nearly two years. An entire generation of Texans will have grown up knowing only him, not as a Governor — but as THE Governor.
This Rick Perry generation of Texans is, simply put, the most exceptional and extraordinary generation of Texans since our Revolution.
They are young.
They are entrepreneurial.
They are immigrants — from abroad, and from other states.
They are uniquely prosperous.
They are unprecedentedly diverse.
And they are all Texan.
This is the achievement of Governor Perry: he took the helm of a state that was just one of many, albeit bigger than most, and he made it into a world-class powerhouse of good jobs, entrepreneurial flourishing, and individual achievement. When he walks away from office in just eighteen months, he’ll have a legacy so simple and yet so profound: he let liberty prove its case — and it did.
That’s all any American could ask for. That’s all any Texan could care about.
At the Texas Public Policy Foundation, we have been privileged — no, make that blessed — to count Governor Perry a friend and an ally in so many straits, in so many fights, and in so many contests for the future of freedom. Those of us who continue in Texas policy and politics after him must grapple with one overriding imperative: to sustain and expand the heritage of liberty and prosperity he leaves us. It is a big task, a tall order, and a daunting endeavor. But we can do it. After all, we have the best of examples to guide us.
We have Rick Perry.
And that’s enough to light the way.
Governor, from this Foundation, and from the hearts of liberty-loving Texans, to you: thank you.
Brooke L. Rollins
President and CEO