He walked in, amidst the flash of cameras, wearing cowboy boots and his signature grin while greeting the enthusiastic crowd of supporters filling the room.
As a part of his increasingly hectic campaign trail, Texas governor Rick Perry made a pit-stop in Bearkat Country Monday morning to speak with local residents and students about his accomplishments and future plans before the upcoming election.
Some of the most excited people at the event, which was held at the Texas Prison Museum, were the Sam Houston State University College Republicans who stood ready at the door to welcome the governor and express their support for his campaign.
“We’re extremely excited he is coming,” College Republican Vice Chair Katherine Meyer said. “We heard he was coming when his son, Griffin Perry, came and spoke at one of our meetings a few weeks ago. I’m surprised it wasn’t more widely circulated.”
In the crowd of both young and old alike, Meyer and the other members of the College Republicans expressed some of the most enthusiasm. The students’ posters proclaiming their support for the Republican candidate even earned a special thanks from Perry at the opening of his speech.
“I want to give a special thanks to my Republican Bearkats,” Perry said with a smile as he took the podium to begin his speech.
Perry used his opening words to appeal to a sense of Texas pride held by many residents as he spoke about the importance of Texas values and the ways in which he plans on keeping those ideals in play in Texas politics.
“I thank God for the thousands of Texans like you who work so hard for this state,” Perry said. “I believe leadership is about standing up for Texas values, and that is what I have done. “Throughout the 15 minutes Perry addressed the crowd, the governor repeatedly focused on the issue of border security. While speaking about the issue, Perry covered both his accomplishments while in office and his future plans if he returns.
“Nothing affects our future more than a weak border, which is why I ordered in the National Guard six months before the president ordered it,” Perry said. “If I’m re-elected, I’m going to ask congress for $1 million to fund state-led border patrol efforts. We can’t have homeland security before we have border security.”
In addition to the issue of securing the border, Perry also touched on the gains made in Texas economy and job sector.
“Today, more Texans have a good job to go to than ever before,” Perry said. “We’ve gained over 675,000 net new jobs; that’s a huge number to put into perspective. All of these people have either moved to Texas or been hired because of the powerful economy we developed.”
Another big-ticket issue affecting millions of Texas voters is government spending, which Perry claims he has worked hard to cut back on.
“I’ve line-item vetoed more than $25 billion in government spending,” Perry said. “This administration is the only government since World War II to spend less than the previous government, but I want to do more. It’s your money; it’s Texas money. And it should go to Texas priorities.”
In the final words of his speech, Perry again recognized Sam Houston State University and encouraged the Bearkat Republicans to address the issue of voter apathy so prevalent in the student community.
“Bearkats, are you ready to do what it takes to get out the vote?” Perry said. “Knock on doors, tell your friends and go to the polls.”
Yet the College Republicans weren’t the only Bearkats in the room, as SHSU President James Gaertner was also in attendance to hear the governor speak.
“I think it’s just great that he came out and visited,” Gaertner said. “And it’s great that he recognized the Bearkat group.”
Following his visit to Huntsville, Perry was scheduled to drive to College Station to speak at his alma mater, Texas A&M University. According to Meyer, the series of speeches Perry made Monday were part of the culmination of his campaign trail which is set to end in Houston before the Nov. 7 elections.