Rick Perry to announce presidential run in Charleston on Saturday
August 11, 2011 at 7:49 PM EST - Updated June 25 at 1:37 AM
CHARLESTON, SC (RNN)
Rick Perry will throw his cowboy hat into the presidential ring Saturday, according to the Associated Press.
The AP reports the Texas governor would make his intentions clear in a campaign stop while visiting Charleston, SC.
Perry's announcement is one of the last expected entries of GOP contenders in the presidential race. America now awaits word from just one more major contender: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Should the 61-year-old be elected president, he will follow in the footsteps of another Texan president, George W. Bush.
Perry served as Bush's lieutenant governor until he himself became Lone Star State's chief executive when Bush was elected president in 2000.
In the down economy, Perry, who is Texas' longest-serving governor, will likely beat the campaign drum on his record of strong job creation.
Texas has proven itself a bastion for jobs, even during tough economic times. Since the start of the recession, 37 percent of jobs created in the entire U.S. originated in the Lone Star state, according to Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher.
Texas' current unemployment rate stands at 8.2 percent, a full point below the national average.
In addition to governing a jobs oasis, Perry could be a strong fold to the current frontrunner for the GOP nomination, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Members of the Republican rank and file who find Romney too shaky on key social issues like abortion and healthcare may find themselves appeased by Perry's tried and true conservatism.
The governor signed a law that requires women seeking abortions below the age of 18 to have parental consent to do so.
Dubbed Romneycare, the health package the former Massachusetts governor pushed through his state legislature has become regarded as the blueprint for President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.
Perry touts himself as a 10th Amendment Republican, advocating for state's rights and a smaller, less-intrusive government.
In his book Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington, Perry concedes that the Massachusetts healthcare reform law is consistent with the idea that states should be laboratories of democracy. But he argues that the legislation doubled waiting times in doctor's lines and resulted in out-of-control costs that could lead to rationing care.
Perry writes that in Texas, "[we] let our citizens choose their own healthcare plan."
Perry could also give emerging contender Rep. Michelle Bachmann a run for her money with the evangelical base, a group that has been searching for its voice after former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced he would not seek the presidency.
Perry is a fifth generation American, who was born in Paint Creek - a rural farming community in West Texas - to Ray and Amelia Perry.
An active member of the Boy Scouts of America in his early days, Perry reached to the rank of Eagle Scout. He was educated at Texas A&M University, where he graduated as an animal science major in 1972.
The West Texaner then went on to serve the U.S. Air Force throughout most of the 1970s, working as a pilot in the U.S. and abroad in the Middle East and Europe. He rose to the rank of captain.
Like his father, a commissioner of Haskell County and a local school board member, a love for politics also seemed to also enrapture a young Perry, who was first elected into office as a Texas state representative in 1985.
From there, the West Texan was twice-elected as Commissioner of Agriculture, beginning in 1990, before assuming the lieutenant governorship and governorship.
According to the state governor's website, Perry's administration has focused on three main areas: education reform, border security and economic reform based on conservative principles.
The website also credits Perry as the first governor to sign budgets reducing general revenue spending since the World War II-era, a credit sure to impress the Tea Party constituency.
Perry has two children with his wife, Anita Thigpen, who he married in 1982. The two are said to have met at a piano recital while still in elementary school.
In addition to Fed Up, Perry is the author of On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For.
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