Former Texas Governor Rick Perry to lead Energy Department

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has been asked by likely President-elect Donald Trump to become the next head of the Department of Energy, a development that was formally announced Wednesday.

Once a rival of the President-elect, the 66-year-old Perry had once urged the department be eliminated as part of his presidential platform while running for the Republican nomination in 2011.

The selection of Perry to Trump’s cabinet edges out West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who had been considered by Trump to lead the agency.

A climate change doubter who led one of the biggest energy states for 14 years, Perry holds a seat on the board of Energy Transfer Partners, the firm heavily involved in the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline project.

As governor of Texas, Perry oversaw a state which produces more natural gas and petroleum products than any other in the country.  In 2005, Perry signed a bill into law which increased the Lone Star State’s dependence on renewable energy. Wind power emerged as the third-most popular form of energy during his term in Austin.

Perry twice attempted to run for the White House, both of which resulted in early departures before the GOP convention.

During a 2011 debate, Perry drew laughter when he forcefully advocated for the elimination of three government agencies.  After naming Commerce and Education, Perry drew a blank and uttered:  “Oops.”

Stumbling to recover, Perry later recalled energy as his third to face an axe, but the damage was done and he exited the primary race in January 2012 after placing fifth in the Iowa caucuses.

Again mentioned as a strong presidential contender for 2016, Perry dropped out almost immediately, ahead of every other primary candidate after barely registering in polls and suffering from poor financing.

After departing the race, Perry was initially skeptical of Trump and endorsed fellow Texan, Ted Cruz.  As Trump emerged as the likely nominee, Perry endorsed the New York businessman and made himself available to serve in a potential Trump cabinet.

“He is not a perfect man, but what I do believe is that he loves this country and he will surround himself with capable, experienced people and he will listen to them,” Perry said in May.

“He wasn’t my first choice, wasn’t my second choice, but he is the people’s choice.”

In response to his nomination as energy secretary, Perry said he looks “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.”

 

[Roll Call] [AP] [Dallas News] [Photo courtesy Getty Images via CNN]