Served as the 47th governor of Texas (from Dec. 21, 2000, until January 20, 2015).
First sought political office in 1984—as a Democrat. He ran for the Texas House of Representatives, won and was re-elected in 1986 and '88.
Changed his party affiliation to Republican in 1989.
Beat the state's incumbent Democratic agriculture commissioner, Jim Hightower, in 1990; and served in that office until 1998, when he was elected lieutenant governor.
Became governor in 2000 when George W. Bush, his predecessor, resigned to become president. He was re-elected in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
Sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 and 2016, but didn't fare well either time.
Born to tenant farmers in the small West Texas town of Paint Creek; his childhood home had no running water.
Met his wife, Anita, at a piano recital during elementary school. They had their first date eight years later, when he was 16 and she was 14, and married in 1982.
Was a Boy Scout, and rose to the rank of Eagle Scout.
Played piano as a youth, but any hopes of pursuing a professional career ended when he badly broke his arm at age 16.
Was a "yell leader" (male cheerleader) at Texas A&M.
Joined the Corps of Cadets while at Texas A&M, the oldest student organization at the university, and also served as senior class social secretary of his fraternity.
Joined the U.S. Air Force after college; and left the service in 1977. During that time, he flew C-130 planes, rose to the rank of captain and aided with drought in Africa and earthquake relief in Guatemala.
Enjoys a wide range of music, including Beethoven and the Who.
Considers Immortal Beloved his favorite movie, but also has a soft spot for The Wizard of Oz.
Is a history buff, and is particularly interested in World War II.
Joseph Ray Perry — Father
Anita Perry — Wife
Milla Perry — Sister
Sydney Perry — Daughter
Amelia June Perry — Mother
Griffin Perry — Son
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, United States (BS in Animal Science, 1972)