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Government/Politics

In Farewell Speech, Perry Calls For Hope, Harmony

“Texas is a state where nothing is impossible. Where the sons and daughters of migrant workers can aspire to own their own farm. Where the children of factory workers can build new age manufacturing facilities. Where the son of a tenant farmer can become the governor of the greatest state in the nation.”

Governor Rick Perry paused at this moment, took in the applause that was his due from the group of men and women he had led for 14 years as Texas’ longest serving governor, and added, pointedly, “In Texas, it’s not where you come from that matters, it’s where you’re going.”

Gov. Perry’s 25-minute speech Thursday to a joint session of the Texas legislature was flowery and familiar, perhaps a bit facile and definitely, sometimes funny, with frequent reminders of the major strides that the state had made under his stewardship. He touched upon expanding Texas’ economic growth in the energy and technology sectors, and the challenges the surge of Central American immigrants had brought to Texas in 2014.

“Texas has done more to secure the border than any other state in the nation and as long as Washington won’t secure the border, Texas will be more than up for the task,” stated Perry. Perry had led the charge to add 1,000 National Guard troops to the Rio Grande Valley as part of the state’s ongoing DPS-led border surge, which costs an average $12 million a month in state funds.

Looking ahead to the 2015 session, Perry had some rather interesting advice for members of his Republican party: “Do not place purity over unity.”

“Compromise is not a dirty word if it moves Texas forward,” said Perry. “If members of this body will work across party lines, put Texas first, I believe the best is yet to come.”

Meanwhile, though some Bexar County lawmakers said they were happy with elements of Perry’s 14-year legacy, they added they were ready for change. San Antonio Democratic Sen. Carlos Uresti praised the governor for his work in improving the state’s foster care system and his efforts to help set up Texas A&M’s regional campus, but when asked if he’d miss Perry, Uresti said he was ready to move on. “I think it’s time for a change and I know Gov. Abbott will leave a legacy as well, and I wish Gov. Perry the best and a great farewell.”

On another, very non-local note, Perry, who has strongly hinted at another run at the Republican Presidential ticket in 2016, and could make that announcement as early as May, made a sweeping declaration after comparing the “vastly different approaches” of Pennsylvania and New York to fracking, and reminding everyone that it was a Texas innovation: “We will one day end America’s dependence on hostile sources of foreign energy.”

Watch the entire speech in the window below: