Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry: Texans Are What Make This State Great

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008  •  Washington, D.C.  •  Speech

Thank you, Gary [Gibbs, Executive Director, Texas Commission on the Arts], for your kind words and for your leadership of our Arts Commission. I am honored that the Smithsonian chose to include Texas in its annual Folklife Festival, and we're honored to share the stage with NASA and the Kingdom of Bhutan.

It probably wouldn't surprise you to know that I'm a big fan of the Lone Star state, I regard it as a unique land of opportunity, and the best place on earth to pursue your dreams. Where else can a boy raised on a tenant farm in West Texas, near a small community called Paint Creek, go to a great university, marry the girl of his dreams and end up governor?

Texas is the land of Davy Crockett and Sam Houston, Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison, Michael Dell and Ross Perot. The list of Texans who have dreamed big dreams and done great things is growing as we speak. More than 1,000 people move to our state everyday, drawn by our low taxes, our friendly business climate and a culture that radiates warmth and welcome. I suspect that some of those residents first came to Texas as tourists and decided our state was the place for them to make their mark. And we greet them with open arms. After all, hospitality is our hallmark.

More than maybe any other state, Texas has a certain mystique, a sense of identity that people recognize and admire all over the world. When Texans travel around the world and meet new people, there is instant recognition for the Lone Star State. People's ears perk up when they meet a Texan, and then questions start to come, about oil wells, cowboy hats, and J.R. Ewing. Our rich history fascinates people, me included. Even if folks forget who won the battle of the Alamo, they want to visit that historic mission when they come to Texas.

Growing up on that farm in Paint Creek, our state's history inspired me to push a little farther, try a little harder and dream a big dream of my own. Over time, I have discovered a state that is greater even than the wildest tall tale, because its citizens make it great. I thank the Smithsonian for celebrating our great state and, on behalf of more than 23 million people, extend the invitation for you to come see it yourself.

To paraphrase our own Lyle Lovett, "You might not be from Texas, but Texas wants you anyway." I hope y'all visit soon!

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