Texas Our Texas
Friday, January 20, 2012
I get a lot of questions about what makes Texas’ economy so strong and why it’s such a great place to live, work and play. These people see the accolades our state earns, and notice the continued national recognition for our impressive job creation record. Recently, for example, Texas earned the “Best State for Jobs” ranking by Forbes.
It’s no accident Texas gets such recognition. While the credit for our economic strength rightfully goes to the hard-working employers and employees of Texas, the Governor and his economic development team do what they can to help, taking a proactive role in touting Texas’ business assets. For instance, when Washington state was recently considering a tax increase, some 90 companies in Washington received letters from the Governor inviting them to take a look at the Lone Star State.
A number of publications have given Texas kudos this past year for our economic strength. Site Selection Magazine, DCI and Area Development Magazine each recognized our business climate. USA Today wrote that Texas moved past New York as the nation’s second largest economy, and the Wall Street Journal credited the state’s low taxes and employer-friendly environment with helping make Texas the job creation capital of the nation. Very impressive!
Since economic development is an initiative I spend a considerable amount of time on, I’m always thrilled to hear when others recognize our desirable business climate. A healthy economy is good for all of us, and building and maintaining success like we’re enjoying takes teamwork, with our economic development team including people from across the state who work in economic development corporations and chambers of commerce. They all do an outstanding job of serving as ambassadors and salespeople for our great state.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
During the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holidays, I try to make time for reflection a priority. It helps keep my sanity during this exciting, frenetic time of year.
As I reflect on 2011, I think of my family’s many blessings. What a joy and blessing for Rick and me to each have both of our parents. They’ve guided us, unconditionally loved us and instilled in us values and morals that made us who we are today. I am so very thankful we are still able to share our lives with them. We are grateful for all of our family . . . our children, our siblings, extended family and even the furry, four-legged Perry family members. They provide us with lots of laughs!
What a blessing to live in a free society and country. We owe a debt of gratitude to all who wear the uniform to protect our liberties. My prayers are with the soldiers and their families always, but especially during the holidays when their families and friends feel their absence even more.
I hope you and yours feel the spirit of Christmas and enjoy Christ’s blessings now and throughout the year.
The Perry Family wishes you the merriest Christmas and a peace-filled, successful 2012.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
This week I was honored to host the former first lady of Pakistan Sehba Musharraf and a group of Pakistani American women for a delightful, interesting and lively discussion over lunch. It was fascinating to learn of some of the geography of Pakistan. For instance, I had no idea parts of Pakistan are as beautiful as Switzerland with majestic, snow capped mountains and rivers running through scenic valleys. Actually, hearing about the diverse scenery sounded similar to the varied landscape we have in Texas.
I also enjoyed hearing about the women’s backgrounds and families in Pakistan. They represented diverse careers, from an economics college professor in Houston to a small business owner in Austin. As we talked and shared information and anecdotes about our families and values, it was apparent, what is most important to all of us is providing a good life for our families, the vital fabric of all cultures.
Friday, July 01, 2011
I recently came across this quote by Dwight D. Eisenhower which is poignant and so very true:
Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.
An interesting historical tidbit . . . on July 3, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail:
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
Adams’ prediction was off by two days. From the beginning, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the Declaration of Independence.
Coincidentally, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
As we celebrate our nation’s freedom with family and friends, let’s not forget the brave, courageous and selfless men and women who continue to fight for our liberties.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
We’ve done it again! Texas is pretty consistent about being at the top of the list, whether we’re talking about business, basketball, or our wonderful people. This past month is no different, as we topped Forbes Magazine’s annual lists of Best Cities for Jobs. To quote Forbes, “...No place displayed more vibrancy than Texas. The Lone Star State dominated the three size categories, with the No. 1 mid-sized city, El Paso (No. 3 overall, up 22 places from last year) and No. 1 large metropolitan area, Austin (No. 6 overall), joining Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood (the No. 1 small city) atop their respective lists.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Congratulations, fellow Texans! This chart-topping tendency isn’t a bad habit to have.
Thursday, June 02, 2011
The Texas Conference for Women yesterday announced that a few keynoters have been added to the lineup and that registration is open. The Conference will be held on Thursday, November 17 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, and so far our speakers include life coach and O, The Oprah Magazine, columnist Martha Beck, Longhorn sports legend and Hall of Famer Jody Conradt, Emmy Award-winning actress from TV’s “Ugly Betty,” America Ferrera and writer and director Lisa Niemi Swayze. Also speaking will be children’s health care advocate Cindy Hensley McCain, who has worked closely with Ben Affleck’s Eastern Congo Initiative.
The theme of this year’s Conference is Live Fearlessly, so check out five reasons to attend here.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
So many women, especially over the age of 50, are checking in on their careers, looking into new opportunities and revisiting where they’re headed. This week, I was invited to speak at a Texas Women in Business Conference devoted exclusively to this very topic. What a day! My own path has taken a few turns over the years, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that we have to keep an open mind and not place limits on ourselves. At every age, we get better in different ways and have different strengths. Sometimes we have to tune out the noise and refocus on where we want to be and what that looks like – and it’s never too late. So much of success starts with the way we see ourselves, so we have to keep recognizing our strengths – and making them work – at every age. Each year matters.
Abraham Lincoln said, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
Let’s keep making the most of them!
Friday, May 20, 2011
Congratulations to the Class of 2011! I know getting to graduation day required putting your neck out there. It required you to stretch yourself – which can be painful, uncomfortable and awkward at first. The more you do it, the more you benefit and the easier it gets. College taught me to dive into books, work with others to solve problems and share ideas to learn from people. How well I did along the way was completely up to me. In life (just like college) nobody stands over you and tells you what to do – you have to figure it out. Having the freedom to figure it out is a great responsibility, and so much depends on it. Just think about the turtle. (yes, the turtle.) When the turtle is at rest, it can easily be mistaken for a rock or a stepping stone. It naturally blends in, but if it wants to go anywhere – if it wants to move or even eat, it has to stretch its neck out there. We can all either blend in or move forward, so I congratulate those who are moving forward. Oh, and I should also mention the families and friends who were there for the graduates – I’m sure they were stretching, themselves, after sitting through the long ceremonies.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Each year, the HeartGift Foundation brings children from around the world to Texas for free surgery to correct life-threatening heart defects. They come to Texas because their home countries lack adequate health care, and they leave Texas with repaired hearts. On Wednesday, May 4th, I got to meet Sandra Martinez from Nicaragua, who had open heart surgery for Tetralogy of Fallot. She’s making a strong recovery and it’s encouraging to see her renewed sense of hope. I was honored to meet her and be part of the experience for her.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Travel in our state is a $57.5 billion industry, so it matters to our economy. In fact, Texas travel in 2010 supported 533,000 jobs with $16.7 billion in earnings. So, slow down and hit the road. It’s good for us and it’s good for our children. Teach them about history with a visit to our historic missions and battlefields. Teach them about government with a tour of capitol – or get back to nature and spend a few days hiking the trails of our state forests.
It’s easy to forget the scale of Texas and all we have to offer. It’s also easy to look past the state lines and think it’s better over there, but I promise it’s not. We have it all right here – whether you need a long road trip or just a weekend getaway. We make it easy through traveltex.com, the state historic trails and so many other resources available. After all, people from all over tell me how much they love Texas. Why not see more of it yourself? It’s good for your health, it’s good for your spirit, and at $57.5 billion… it’s an industry that’s good for our economy!
Thursday, May 05, 2011
We recently saw a four-percent reduction in pre-term birthrates, and that hasn’t happened in 30 years! It’s still alarming that right now for every 10 newborns, one will have to spend time in the NICU. So, it breaks my heart to see a mother or family affected. The March of Dimes NICU Family Support Centers are stepping in to help ease the burden for families. We have a few here in Austin, and they’ve been such a huge help in comforting those affected, offering educational materials… and basically just bringing everyone together.
Monday, May 02, 2011
To complete the tour last week, I visited two more towns: Uvalde and Vernon. Phew! What a week. I met so many people, it was a joy to run into some old friends, too! In Vernon, I was met by Peggy Harris, a beautiful woman whose husband died at Normandy. We met in 2008 at D-Day ceremonies, and she doesn’t seem to have aged a day since. I was reminded what a striking, beautiful place Vernon is with its rolling prairies and kind people. It’s also the hometown of legendary Texas musicians like Roy Orbison and Jack Teagarden, who played with Louis Armstrong. When I spoke outside the courthouse, the high winds nearly blew me away, but everyone was so nice and held a reception at a beautiful, partially-restored movie theater. We call it a walk-in where I’m from! Being part of the Main Street Program will make it easier for Vernon to continue its restoration efforts.
Uvalde was fun, too, and I was thrilled to see long-time friends like Charlie Crawford, a dear friend from Rick’s A&M days. I’m delighted that Uvalde is joining the Main Street Program, because its people have played a key role in Texas history. It was first named Encina, for its many shade trees and it has proven to be fertile ground for greatness. Uvalde is also the legendary hometown of former Vice President John Nance Garner; my second favorite Texas governor, Dolph Briscoe, Jr.; and celebrities like the late singer/actress Dale Evans; the Grammy-winning Tejano group Los Palominos; and Matthew McConaughey, who (ironically) played another Uvalde native – one of the notorious, bank-robbing Newton Boys. Joining Main Street will help Uvalde become an even more inviting place to stop for anyone passing through. And quite a few people come through… because it’s at the crossroads of the two longest stretches of highway (83 and 90) in the country!