SAN ANTONIO (CBSDFW.COM) – Saying that “the time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership,” Rick Perry announced that he will not seek re-election as governor of Texas.
Standing at Holt Cat in San Antonio, one of the largest Caterpillar equipment dealers in the U.S., the governor talked about his accomplishments and reflected on the people who have influenced his life, both professionally and personally.
“I remain excited about the future and the challenges ahead, but the time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership. Today, I am announcing I will not seek re-election as governor of Texas,” Perry said to a silent crowd. “I will spend the next 18 months working to create more jobs, opportunity and innovation.”
Perry, 63, stopped short of making any definitive statement about making another run for the White House, saying, “I will active lead this great state and I’ll also pray and reflect and work to determine my own future path,” he said. “Any future considerations I will announce in due time and I will arrive at that decision appropriately, but my focus will remain on Texas.”
The governor had been a front runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but his campaign took several hits with embarrassing public moments. His most famous flub came during a during a nationally televised debate GOP debate when he simply uttered the word “oops”, after forgetting the third of three federal departments he’d pledged to close if he became the Commander in Chief.
Perry has been in office more than 12 years, making him the longest-serving governor in Texas history and the nation’s longest-sitting current governor.
Taking time to periodically pause, seemingly to compose himself, the staunch Christian conservative said, ” “I make this announcement with a deep sense of humility and appreciation for the time and the trust the people of this state has given me. Knowing I will truly miss serving in this capacity, because it is the greatest job in modern politics.”
During his announcement Monday afternoon Perry spoke with pride about convening a second special legislative session after a more than 12-hour filibuster by state Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) and the shouts of thousands of protestors ran out the clock on a Midnight deadline to vote on stringent new abortion restrictions.
“We have better protected the right-to-life for Texas children. We have protected the sanctity of marriage. We respected the traditional values that made Texas the greatest state, in the greatest nation on earth,” Perry told the crowd, later adding, “Texas is and will remain a strong pro-life, pro-family, pro-freedom state.”
Perry was elected lieutenant governor of Texas in 1998, and assumed the role of governor when George W. Bush left Austin for the White House in December 2000.
Perry will serve out his term through January 2015.
The Republican many assume will be next in line to run for the office is Attorney General Greg Abbott. Abbott’s office made no indication about the attorney general’s political plans. Abbott did release a statement praising Perry’s work on the economy stating, “Our work together is not done, and over the next year and a half, we will continue our work to keep Texas the very best state for attracting jobs, raising families and advancing freedom.”
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