Why Rick Perry says he's not worried about competing against Kentucky

03/15/2014 09:59 PM

MURRAY — Texas Gov. Rick Perry gave Kentucky Republicans another argument for their bid to take over the state House, saying Saturday that as governor of the fastest growing economy over the last decade, he worries about competitor states — but not Kentucky.

Speaking to more than 300 Republicans at the Murray State University’s student center ballroom, Perry said passing restrictions on lawsuits through tort reform, lowering or eliminating the personal income tax as Texas and Tennessee do and passing a right-to-work law would make Kentucky much tougher to compete with.

On Thursday, a Kentucky state House committee rejected a right-to-work bill, which would end open-shop workplaces and require any worker to choose to be a dues-paying member in order to be represented by a labor union. Fourteen state representatives, including two Republicans, voted against it. Four Republicans voted for the measure.

Perry told the crowd at the Murray Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner that he “gets up every morning, and I’m nervous about what Bobby Jindal’s doing in Louisiana.”

“I don’t particularly worry about Kentucky,” he said.

Several times in his 25-minute speech, Perry made a pitch for taking over control of the state House, although he said Republicans need six seats. Technically, they only need a net gain of five as Republicans climbed to 46 seats compared to Democrats’ 54 after last December’s special election in the Owensboro area.

Perry also told the crowd that Texas won’t just continue to outstrip Kentucky economically, but will take the commonwealth’s brightest graduates too.

Perry, who hasn’t ruled out running for president again in 2016, didn’t mention his presidential ambitions. But he did slam President Barack Obama over the Affordable Care Act. And he touted what Texas has done during his 14 years as governor.

Perry’s staff declined to make the governor available for questions before the dinner and the governor left through the side door of the student center immediately after speaking.

(For other highlights and interviews from Saturday’s dinner, watch Monday’s edition of Pure Politics on Time Warner Cable’s cn|2 network, 7 p.m. EST/6 p.m. Central)

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