Updated: Wednesday, 06 Oct 2010, 9:03 AM CDT
Published : Tuesday, 05 Oct 2010, 4:58 PM CDT
AUSTIN (KXAN) - He’s served 25 years in public office in Austin, including nearly 10 years as governor.
He’s an entrenched incumbent in a year when there is tangible voter fatigue with long-time politicians.
But Aggie-to-the-bone Rick Perry likens his situation to that of a Texas Longhorn legend.
“I don't think anybody's ready to get rid of Mack Brown," Perry told Robert Hadlock of KXAN News in a recent one-on-one interview. "He's got a successful record. He's put the Longhorns in a very enviable position. He and I have been in position in about the same period of time."
And like a winning coach, Perry said a governor should get credit for his state’s successes.
"Texas is the number one exporting state in the nation. We're the number one job creating state in the nation. CNBC chose us as the number one state to do business," he said.
Perry claimed Texas could be doing much better if not for the economic policies of congressional Democrats and the Obama administration.
“You can't be the number one exporting state in the nation and not be impacted by these very onerous policies that are coming out of Washington, D.C. The runaway spending, the stimulus bills that have created no jobs. All they have done is create huge debt. Yes, it's had an impact on us. We'll deal with it. We always have,” Perry said.
The governor noted that the projected state budget deficit has yet to be figured.
“The great news is we're required to have a balanced budget by our Constitution. We will have a balanced budget and I will suggest very strongly, without raising taxes," he said.
Perry is making security along the Texas-Mexico border one of the keystones of his re-election campaign.
“We do have a situation on the border that is of great concern to people's safety first. And secondly to the economy of this state and of Mexico. They are our number one trading partner. Are we concerned about what's going on across that border? You'd better believe it. It is starting to spill over and I've tried to impress on the administration and Congress for a number of years," Perry said.
Despite constraints on the state budget, Perry said he supports a plan to stem the rising cost of college tuition.
“We have gone on record as being highly supportive and we will push this during the next session of the legislature, to freeze tuition at the level it is today. If you start 2011, in the fall of 2011, four years later, that's what your tuition is going to be,” the governor said.
Recent polling shows Perry with a comfortable lead over former Houston mayor Bill White.
"At the end of the day people look at the record. That's what they're going to look at. And you cannot say anything other than, Texas finds itself in a very unique position. Not just the football team but the state itself for an economic perspective," he explained.
Perry’s track record of never losing an election has fueled talk that he could make a run for the Republican nomination for president in 2012.
“I tell people I'm focused on this election and I have no interest in going to Washington, D.C., other than to catch a good museum,” Perry said.