Recently joining the race for the 2012 Republican nomination for president is Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Perry, in his third and final term at the helm of the state, has rapidly moved to the front of still fluctuating field of candidates.
Perry's standard line is that he can do for the nation what he has done for Texas, which he says is create jobs, maintain public education and balance the budget without raising taxes. But the numbers, and Black residents of the state, tell a different story.
"I just want America to wake up and look at the true picture," said Karen Hasan, a postal service supervisor and Texas resident for 32 years. "He's [Rick Perry] talking out both sides of his neck."
Residents speaking to the AFRO about Gov. Perry were largely in agreement, citing unemployment, substandard jobs and a failing public education system among the governor's biggest shortcomings. "I haven't seen him try to create any jobs for people or anything," said Texas native Regina Holley, 53. "I don't think he's done anything that's worked out well for Texas."
Charles Dorsey, 62 and a Texan for 35 years, said many of the jobs being created don't even pay minimum wage, adding, "Texas has the lowest average hourly income of any state in the United States other than Mississippi. I think people need to understand the type of jobs being created."
Along with the unemployment and jobs situation in the state, native Texan Ronni Bowman, third year student at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, referenced the large number of residents without health insurance.
Saying that he panders to special interests, Melanie Spratt-Anderson, the first Black and three-term Upton County attorney, said Perry's only interest in health care came in the form of a 2007 executive order to inoculate girls, by the sixth grade, with Merck's Gardasil while at the same time refusing to sign legislation to renew the Children's Health Insurance Program. The state legislature was able to stop this action and Perry's connections to Merck were under scrutiny. She said, "Anybody that has enough money to contribute to him, will get what they pay for."
Dorsey questioned Perry's transparency. "Unfortunately, the people of Texas cannot even get his calendar for last month or months before. … One of the things that really bothers me is that the guy is so secretive about what he's doing that every seven days all of his emails are purged. So people don't really know what he is doing and what he has done."
Dorsey also called Perry "one of the biggest phonies I have ever seen," with George Powell, a 15 year Texas resident, adding, "He has a reputation for being all fluff. Everything is ceremonial."
Which probably explains why each one dismissed Perry's Houston day of prayer and fasting. Powell said, "Clearly it was just to jumpstart his campaign." Hasan added, "I think it's a ploy to get more votes."
Saying that Texas politicians pander to conservative Christians, Spratt-Anderson added, "It was purely to get the votes. I wish Christians would stop falling for that."
"That's why I'm saying he's a phony," said Dorsey. "Up until recently, Rick Perry has not been a very religious person. In fact, if you ask his church, he's only tithed like $98 for the whole year. But now, all of a sudden, he's become this religious person, [saying] that we can pray everything away.
"Unfortunately if people fall for this, we're in a world of trouble."
No one recommended Perry as a candidate to look at when voting for president. "I think we'd be looking at another George Bush," said Spratt Anderson. "… I don't think it would be good."
Powell concurred, saying that while Perry is probably the best in the Republican field right now, all that really means is that he is just the least objectionable of a lot of really bad choices. Holley said, "He'd just bring more destruction to the people of the United States."
"The country is in trouble and needs someone with the ability to get us out reasonably," said Dorsey. "I want people to really look at the true Rick Perry. Because if they did, they would never vote for him."