Today is Texas Governor Rick Perry’s 2920th day in office, and that makes him officially the longest-serving governor in Texas history. He has two years remaining on his current term, and has announced that he is running for reelection in 2010. If he wins then, he will serve at least 14 years as Texas Governor.Texas has no term limits on the office.
Perry is the only governor in modern Texas history to have appointed every person who can possibly be appointed by a governor. These appointments are staggered in four and six year terms, precisely to keep one governor from appointing everyone in the state. But Perry has been governor so long that all the appointed terms have expired during his tenure. He has also appointed five of the nine Supreme Court Justices, and has placed more than a dozen of his former staffers in high government offices.
In other words, Governor Perry has placed his imprint on our state in a way no other governor (or other politician) has done before.
Has he obtained this power because all Texans love him? Hardly. In the last election, Perry won with only 39% of the total vote because singer, comedian, and independent candidate Kinky Friedman split the anti-Perry vote with the Democratic candidate. In Texas, a majority is not required to win the election, only a plurality.
While I’m sure Governor Perry has his strengths, he is both far more conservative and far more partisan than his predecessor, George W. Bush, who served six years. As a result, Texas has become more conservative and more split along partisan lines than at any time in my memory. This is not a good thing. Any state needs balance. Being pro-business and anti-consumer is not good if every official in a state is that way. Texas consumers need someone on our side, and we haven’t had anyone for a very long time. And we won’t have anyone for a long time to come.