Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry leaves after a meeting with US
President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower December 12,
2016 in New York. / AFP PHOTO / KENA BETANCUR
President-elect Donald Trump tapped former Texas governor
Rick Perry, who once famously said he would abolish the
Energy Department, to serve as its secretary Wednesday.
The nomination puts Perry, the oil-rich state’s longest-serving
governor, in charge of a vast array of energy oversight,
including enhancement of nuclear security and science and
innovation in the energy field.
“As the governor of Texas, Rick Perry created a business
climate that produced millions of new jobs and lower energy
prices in his state, and he will bring that same approach to our
entire country as secretary of energy,” Trump said in a
statement.
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Perry, a US Air Force veteran and former farmer, will replace
current Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, a nuclear physicist by
training who was a leading force behind the United States’
marathon efforts to seal the Iran nuclear deal.
“I look forward to engaging in a conversation about the
development, stewardship and regulation of our energy
resources, safeguarding our nuclear arsenal, and promoting an
American energy policy that creates jobs and puts America
first,” Perry said.
Perry, who participated in the Republican primary but was
crushed by Trump early on, once assailed the real estate mogul
as a “cancer on conservatism.”
He became the first casualty in a crowded battle for the
Republican Party nomination in 2016, throwing his support
behind Texas Senator Ted Cruz after dropping out.
The 66-year-old also ran for the Republican party’s 2012
nomination, famously fumbling during a debate when he vowed
to abolish three US departments — but could only remember the
names of two.
“The third agency of government I would do away with — the
education, the commerce. And let’s see. I can’t. The third one I
can’t. Sorry. Oops,” he told a tittering crowd in 2011, only to
remember later in the debate that he wanted to scrap the Energy
Department.
Perry served as lieutenant governor of Texas beginning in 1999
under then-governor George W. Bush. He went on to serve as
the 47th governor of the state from 2000 to 2015.
Trump’s statement called Perry “one of the most successful
governors in modern history, having led Texas through a
sustained period of economic growth and prosperity by
developing the state’s energy resources and infrastructure, and
making low-cost energy available to companies and families.”
Before assuming public office, Perry flew C-130 tactical airlift
aircraft in Europe and the Middle East while serving in the US
Air Force from 1972 to 1977.
Perry grew up in the small Texas town of Pain Creek, where his
parents were tenant farmers.

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