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Texas Tribune: In Last Hurrah, Perry to Encourage Compromise

Ed Schipul
Creative Commons


In a farewell speech to a joint session of the Texas Legislature on Thursday, Gov. Rick Perry intends to emphasize bipartisanship and encourage lawmakers to work across party lines.

"There is room for different voices, for disagreement," he plans to say, according to prepared remarks provided to The Texas Tribune. "Compromise is not a dirty word if it moves Texas forward." 

Perry will deliver his speech at 2:30 p.m. in the House chamber, which played host earlier this week to the first contested vote for speaker since 1975. Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, who easily survived a challenge from state Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco, expressed a similar sentiment in his victory speech, saying, "You can not effectively govern this House by dividing it."

Thursday will mark the final time Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, speaks publicly to lawmakers from his current position, though he is considering and preparing for a possible presidential bid. 

In 2011, his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination was memorably unsuccessful, but in the run-up to the 2016 race, he has adopted a more statesman-like image and tone than his previous effort.

On Thursday, Perry also plans to reflect on at least one issue on which his views have evolved. Over the years, he came to sense that the state's approach to nonviolent drug offenders was, according to the prepared remarks, "flawed."

He will tout the success of the state's drug courts and diversion programs in lowering crime rates.

"We must remember when it comes to the disease of addiction, the issue is not helping bad people become good, but sick people become well," he plans to say. "Turning to diversion programs hasn't made us soft on crime. It's made us smart on crime."

As he does in most speeches, Perry will highlight the state's job growth during his tenure. He will say the state's economic expansion also contributed to a "creative and cultural arts boom." And he will make the case that Texas has "expanded our economy while protecting our environment."

One Texan whom Perry will cite as reaping the rewards of his approach is his successor, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott, who will be inaugurated on Jan. 20.

"In keeping with my philosophy that you don't spend all the money just because you can," Perry plans to say, "I am leaving the next governor more than $100 million in unspent funds from trusteed programs and other funds managed by my office."

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

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