Perry, In Farewell Address, Stresses Bipartisanship

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Outgoing Texas Gov. Rick Perry, known nationally as an outspoken conservative and likely 2016 presidential candidate, called for bipartisanship and ‘unity’ Thursday during his final address to the Texas legislature.

Perry, who is leaving the governors’ mansion after four terms, urged members of his own party to “not place purity ahead of unity.”

“There is room for different voices, for disagreement,” he said. “Compromise is not a dirty word if it moves Texas forward. If members of this body work across party lines and put Texas first, I believe the best is yet to come.”

The governor, who will be replaced by outgoing Texas attorney general Greg Abbott, touted his economic record in his remarks, highlighting the state’s resilience against the economic recession.

“As governor, I have made economic growth my signature initiative,” he said. “But I recognize job creation is not the answer to every ill. In fact, in some respects it has brought challenges to our state, straining our water resources, crowding our freeways, stressing our power grid. In recent years we have taken action to protect our water supply and expand roadways. But work remains to be done if Texas is to continue to lead the nation.”

And he devoted special attention to his administration’s work changing what he called a “flawed” approach to non-violent drug offenders.

“My fellow Texans, we must remember when it comes to the disease of addiction the issue is not helping bad people become good, but sick people become well. Turning to diversion programs hasn’t made us soft on crime, it’s made us smart on crime,” he said.

- Carrie Dann