Gregory R. Perry is a quiet-spoken intelligent man. When asked why he is running for Texas Senate District 9, he replied: "Mainly Anger!"
When he begins talking about public policy and how it impacts his grandchildren, it becomes clear that Gregory R. Perry is determined to change the course of Texas public policy. Gregory is convinced that the trajectory of this state is at odds with the opportunities facing his grandchildren and their generations. Gregory R. Perry is a man with a purpose and he knows what must be done and is ready to get to work seeing that it gets done!
1. Education - "Without education no one is going anywhere!" Perry says that even highway funding is inconsequential if we do not educate our children. He is running in an urban district (Arlington, Irving, Grand Prairie and the Mid-Cities) which has over 89,000 adults who have not graduated from High School. Unopposed in the Democratic Primary, Gregory R. Perry is facing incumbent Kelly Hancock (R) in the General Election. Hancock voted to slash school funding in 2011 while in the Texas House. In the Senate he has done little or nothing to restore the funding or to strengthen the public education system in Texas. In the Senate, Hancock opposed Equal Pay for Equal Work for women.
2. Public Infrastructure - especially Water - For Gregory Perry it comes down to energy and water. The U.S. Government stopped building reservoirs in the 1980s. The Reagan administration tried to privatize building water reservoir. Perry, retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, specialized in water management and river engineering. He says that until the Reagan administration, the Army Corps of Engineers built three reservoirs per decade to keep up with water demands from population growth and expanded industrial usage. When Reagan tried to sell of the reservoirs and speculated that future reservoirs could be constructed by private corporations, they failed to factor in the impact of flood control and sovereignty.
Only the United States Government can claim sovereignty. When reservoirs have to open the floodgates in exercising flood control, the government can defend itself from law suits because of sovereignty. A private company cannot. Therefore, it is too big a risk for private corporations to invest in reservoirs. There is a water crisis in Texas and it will not get better. Deferring investment in water solutions -- long term investment in infrastructure is imperative for the quality of life and economic future of North Texans. Gregory R. Perry worked on the Joe Pool Lake, Lake of the Pines, Sam Rayburn, and Lake of the Pines Corps of Engineers water management projects. He understand water and he knows Texas aquifers. With the stress of trillions of gallons of water used by horizontal drilling/fracking in Texas during drought, water is a priority for this next legislative session. He has worked on the rivers and lakes of Texas and now Gregory R. Perry is prepared to bring solutions to the floor for consideration.
Commenting on the power plants which went off-line during the January cold spell, Perry explains that these plants are coal power plants and it takes longer for a coal plant to come on-line. Water powered power plants come on-line rapidly. However, in Texas we do not have the water to power new hydro powered plants.
We have to think ahead and be innovative and apply sustainable energy solutions throughout the state. "Fossil fuel is a limited resource. We must shift to renewable energy for powering our homes and businesses and save the petro chemicals for producing plastics." Perry sees the current use of fossil fuel as "squandering resources which are too precious to use on generating electricity."
3. Equal Pay for Equal Work - Gregory Perry says that failure to index the minimum wage to inflation has eroded the financial base of families and transferred costs to the government which should be included in the cost of business when making a profit. In Senate District 9, over 48% of the households in the district live on less than $50,000 a year. About 45% of the households in the District are renters. The median gross rent is $850 a month. Transportation cost is high. The Texas Legislative Council estimates that 110,536 people were living in poverty in Senate District 9 in 2011 and the per capita income is estimated as $25,046. Gregory R. Perry believes all workers should be fairly compensated. Gender and racial workplace discrimination must stop. The percentage of Latino and African American workers are three times more likely to live in poverty than Anglo workers. Texas has a higher employment rate than many other states but 28.6% of Texas jobs are low-wage. Gregory R. Perry says that "Trickle-down economic is a dismal failure. Money flows to the top one percent and American jobs have gone off-shore. Money hasn't trickled down to the middle class. The earning of many of the middle class is now below the poverty level." Gregory Perry cites a 2011 U.S. Census Bureau report that the number of families living in poverty in the United States is now at the highest level in 50 years.
Perry sees education as the big divide between economic stability and opportunity. The Texas Legislative Council reports 26.6% of the adults in Senate District 9 have Bachelor's Degrees or higher. However, 18.1% of the adults 25 years and older do not have high school diplomas. Many of the 45.8% of the district which have graduated from High School have difficulty affording a college education. In 2011 only 45,613 persons in the district were in college, attending university or trade schools. Gregory R. Perry says that lack of education combined with racial and gender discrimination in pay rates and job opportunities impacts the poverty level in the district. When families earn less, they have less to spend. This impacts the retail, housing and wholesale sectors of the district and impacts the overall economics of the region.
Gregory R. Perry does not think in sound-bites. He thinks like an engineer who is interested in macro economics. He views the big picture and looks for short-term solutions as a bridge while long-term investments can be implemented to prevent future problems.
I found the conversations with Mr. Perry very stimulating. He does not duck and hide from the difficult questions. He is a family man who thinks of the future instead of just trying to put a band-aide on current problems. I find him refreshingly honest and intelligent. He is not a politician. He's neither polished nor evasive! He does have a plan and he has purpose. I like him. He is worth giving serious consideration for replacing the current incumbent in Senate District 9.
Visit his website at www.txsen9gregoryperry.com